Zika virus (ZIKV) is an infectious disease that can cause serious symptoms in adults and pregnant women, including birth defects.

Areas of risk

Zika can be found in the Americas, parts of Africa, and Asia

The virus was first reported in the Western Hemisphere in 2015. While there have been no reported cases of locally-acquired Zika virus in Canada, since the specific type of mosquito is not found here, there have been travel-acquired cases.

Key facts

Zika virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in a Rhesus macaque monkey.

Infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly in the baby, a birth defect that signifies incomplete brain development.

Pregnant women should not travel to areas with Zika outbreaks.

prevention guidance

Zika is also associated with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a condition where the immune system attacks the nerves.

Monitoring Zika

There are ongoing investigations into the effects of Zika on pregnancy outcomes and neurological effects.

Zika at a glance

Primary vector

Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus (in tropical and subtropical regions)

Biting habits:

  • Primarily daytime
  • Can also bite at night


Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms lasting for several days to a week.

Most common:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Red eyes
  • Muscle pain

Zika virus is also transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy, as well as through sexual contact, transfusion of blood and blood products, and possibly through organ transplantation.

Help reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases dampening your travel experience. Learn more by speaking to your healthcare professional, such as a doctor or pharmacist, or visiting a travel clinic, before your next trip.

Staying educated on the different types of mosquito-borne diseases is crucial ahead of your next trip!