Anyone who has travelled outside of Canada, the continental United States or Europe will be ineligible to give blood for three weeks upon their return from abroad "to mitigate the risk of the Zika virus entering the Canadian blood supply" (AFP Photo/J.P. Moczulski)
Earlier this month Canada announced anyone who has travelled outside of the country, the continental United States or Europe will be ineligible to give blood for three weeks upon their arrival from abroad “to mitigate the risk of the Zika virus entering the Canadian blood supply, Yahoo News. (AFP Photo/J.P. Moczulski)

(Q24n) Cbcnews Toronto reports Canada’s first case of the Zika virus in the province of Ontario, confirmed by the province’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

In a statement, the province’s chief medical officer of health said Friday that Public Health Ontario received positive test results for the virus in an individual who had travelled to Colombia. The ministry did not confirm whether the person affected is a man or a woman, but did say that the patient is not pregnant.

The statement says: “From the beginning of the outbreak in Central and South America, we have taken steps to ensure our health system and our partners are prepared should a returning traveller be suspected of having the virus”.

Ontario Health officias are recommding anyone who has travelled to countries affected by the virus should speak with their health-care provider, who can advise them on the need for testing. The province says the risk to Ontarians remains “very low” as mosquitos known to transmit the virus are not established in Canada and not suited to this country’s climate.

In Costa Rica,  the Ministry of Health (Ministerio de Salud) says so far there is no evidence that the virus circulating in the country.

The latest case, that of a Nicaraguan man in Limon was ruled out and two suspected cases in Atenas, Alajuela, were dismissed as Zika, these patients had Dengue.

So far, the only two cases of Zika in Costa Rica were both imported: one from Colombia and one from Honduras and health officials continue investigating the “highly suspicious” case of the American tourist who allegedly contracted the virus in Costa Rica.

Explosion of infections

According to The Canadian Press, there has been an explosion of Zika infections in South and Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean since the first cases began showing up in Brazil last May.

A small number of cases have previously been reported in Canada — in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec — in travellers who have returned home infected. Most people who contract the infection have no symptoms, but some experience fever, joint pain, rash and red eyes.

However, the virus has been potentially linked in Brazil to more than 4,400 cases of abnormally small heads (microcephaly) in infants born to women who may have been infected while pregnant, as well as cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological condition that can cause muscle weakness or even partial paralysis.

Sources: CBC.ca, Thecanadianpress.com, News.yahoo.com