Officials: Zika Risk in Canada is Low

Four people across Canada have been diagnosed with the Zika virus in recent days, but the country's chief public health officer said reports of the mosquito-borne infection are no cause for alarm.

“The mosquitoes known to transmit the virus are not established in Canada and are not well suited to our climate,” said Dr. Gregory Taylor during a Friday morning news conference in Ottawa. “For this reason the risk of Zika virus infection in Canada is considered very low.”

All four cases involve patients who contracted the illness overseas and came home.

Researchers continue learning Zika's intricacies. The disease mainly transmits through mosquito bites, though it's not the only vehicle for infection.

“There is some evidence that mother-to-child transmission may occur, there have been a few reports identifying the possibility of transmission of Zika virus through transfusion of infected blood or possible sexual transmission of Zika virus. More research is still needed on transmission and effects of this disease," Taylor said.

There is no vaccine at this point for the Zika virus. Brazil has linked the Zika virus to cases of microcephaly, or abnormally small heads in newborns. Taylor urged women who are pregnant or may become pregnant speak with their doctor if they plan on visiting a location where the disease is common.

“Only about 20 to 25 per cent of people infected with the virus develop symptoms, which can include fever, headache, conjunctivitis or pink eye, rash and joint or muscle pain," he said. “Severe illness is uncommon.”