Protecting Yourself and Your Family from the Zika Virus

Zika virus is primarily transmitted through Aedes mosquito bites

This species of mosquito is not common to Canada. This virus is not airborne and is not spread by hard surfaces – like a cold or flu virus. As a result, disinfectant and sanitizer products will not prevent the spread of the Zika Virus. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) continues to update its website with information about the Zika virus, including symptoms, transmission and prevention. CCSPA encourages Canadians to visit the PHAC website for additional and credible information related to the Zika virus.

Pregnant women, and those considering becoming pregnant in the short term, should discuss their risk with a health care professional and consider postponing travel to an area where the Zika virus is circulating. If travel cannot be postponed, strict mosquito bite prevention measures should be followed.

Canadian travellers visiting affected areas should help protect themselves against the Zika virus by taking individual protection to prevent mosquito bites, including using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing while outdoors.  In areas that do not have screened windows and doors, mosquito nets can be used. When staying in a well-screened or completely enclosed air-conditioned accommodation, ensure also that there are no items inside containing stagnant or standing water. If these items are found, they should be emptied immediately, scrubbed clean and allowed to air dry.

There is no vaccine or medication that protects against the Zika virus infection. To ensure product efficacy, Canadians travelling to affected areas should take a mosquito repellent that was purchased in Canada that contains a PCP Number. Further instructions to prevent mosquito bites include:

  • Purchase an insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin (also known as Picaridin) as they have been proven to be effective.
  • Use products as directed on the label.
  • Before applying products to children, ensure the products are appropriate for their use and avoid putting on their hands.
  • Do not apply to cuts, abrasions or irritated skin.
  • Do not spray directly on the face.
  • Wash your hands after application and avoid contact with lips and eyes.
  • DO NOT use products that contain both insect repellent and sunscreen.
  • If you need to apply both sunscreen and repellent with DEET, apply the sunscreen first and let it soak into the skin for about 15 minutes, then apply the repellent.
  • When travelling to areas with a high risk of diseases spread by insects, reapply repellent when required. If you are being bitten, but the time span noted on the label has not ended, it is recommended that you reapply the repellent.
  • If you want to minimize the amount of repellent used, apply at the times of day when insects are most active and exposure is more likely.