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Sask. health officials investigating potential case of sexually-transmitted Zika virus

Click to play video: 'Suspected zika virus case in Saskatchewan could be a Canadian first' Suspected zika virus case in Saskatchewan could be a Canadian first
Suspected zika virus case in Saskatchewan could be a Canadian first – Mar 24, 2016

REGINA – Health officials in Saskatchewan are investigating a new case of Zika virus in the province, and the possibility it may have been spread through sexual activity.

Dr. Denise Werker, Saskatchewan’s Deputy Chief Medical Health Officer, made the announcement at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

If confirmed, this would be the first case of sexually-transmitted Zika virus in Canada.

New prevention guidelines are being recommended, as it’s been found that the Zika virus is transmissible by men for a longer period of time by semen than by blood.

“The new recommendation is that men should use condoms for six months after return from travel,” Werker explained.

“This is a precautionary principle. There is new scientific evidence that the virus can remain in semen for as long as two months.”

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It is also recommended that women avoid becoming pregnant for two months if they return from a Zika infected country like Mexico or Brazil.

Saskatchewan’s first case of Zika virus was reported in February. Werker also confirmed a second travel-related case of Zika virus in Saskatchewan, but was unable to provide information on where and when the diagnosis occurred.

Zika infection in pregnant women has been linked to babies being born with microcephaly, which causes abnormally small heads. However, a direct correlation has not been proven.

Symptoms to watch out for include rash, fever, joint pain, and red eyes. However, 80 per cent of people infected don’t show any symptoms.

WATCH: Latest coverage on Zika Virus

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