The Canadian government has warned its citizens to “exercise a high degree of caution” when traveling to Dominica because of the presence of the Zika Virus on the island.
The travel advisory was also issued to eight other CARICOM countries because of the virus.
Pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant were told they should avoid traveling to Dominica.
“If travel cannot be avoided or postponed strict mosquito bite prevention measures should be followed due to the association between Zika virus infection and increased risk of serious health effects on their developing foetus,” the travel advisory states.
In March this year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States added Dominica to the list of countries that some US citizens were advised to avoid amid the spread of the Zika virus.
However, Tourism Minister, Robert Tonge said he was “not very concerned” about the effect of such an advisory on the local tourism industry.
Dominica announced its first confirmed case of the disease on March 15, 2016.
The other CARICOM countries on the advisory are Bahamas, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Zika is caused by a virus which is primarily spread by the bite of an Aedes Egypti infected mosquito. It can also be transmitted from an infected pregnant woman to her developing foetus. In addition, Zika virus can be sexually transmitted, and the virus can persist for an extended period of time in the semen of infected males.
Symptoms of Zika virus can include fever, headache, conjunctivitis and skin rash, along with joint and muscle pain. 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 although trials are underway.