Pregnant women advised to avoid South Florida due to new Zika cases

The Public Health Agency of Canada issued a travel health notice after Florida health officials announced more cases of Zika.

A mosquito control inspector sprays a chemical mist into a storm drain. Photo: AP Photo/Alan Diaz A mosquito control inspector sprays a chemical mist into a storm drain in Miami. Photo: AP Photo/Alan Diaz

OTTAWA - Ottawa is recommending that pregnant women and women who plan to get pregnant avoid travelling to South Florida after more cases of Zika virus linked to mosquitoes were reported in the area.

The Public Health Agency of Canada issued a travel health notice Friday after Florida health officials announced five cases of Zika had been connected to mosquitoes in Miami Beach, bringing the state’s caseload to 36 infections not related to travel outside the U.S. The agency says it is working closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to provide Canadians with the most up-to-date information possible regarding the virus. The CDC, meanwhile, announced that it was expanding its travel warning for pregnant women to include an area in Miami Beach known for nightclubs, pedestrian thoroughfares and beaches.

It previously warned pregnant women to avoid the Wynwood arts district in Miami. In its statement Friday, the agency said pregnant women may also want to consider postponing nonessential travel throughout Miami-Dade County if they’re concerned about potential exposure to the mosquito-borne virus.

Health officials say symptoms of Zika virus can include fever, headache, conjunctivitis and skin rash, along with joint and muscle pain. They say the illness is typically mild and lasts only a few days and the majority of those infected do not have symptoms. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against Zika virus infection.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says experts agree that Zika virus infection causes microcephaly in a developing fetus during pregnancy and Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a neurological disorder. Several countries have reported cases of microcephaly and Guillian-Barré Syndrome.

-with files from The Associated Press

This article was originally published on Aug 29, 2016

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