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Zika virus infection in Chile, New Caledonia and the Cook Islands

Updated: June 03, 2014

Travel Health Notice

Outbreaks of Zika virus infection are ongoing in New Caledonia as new cases continue to be reported. Easter Island, a territory of Chile, reported its first case of locally acquired Zika virus in January of this year. The outbreak of Zika virus infection affecting the Cook Islands is nearing an end.

These cases mark the first transmission of Zika virus outside of Africa or Asia since an outbreak on the island of Yap in 2007, the only previously reported transmission outside these regions.

Zika virus infection is caused by a virus which is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms can include fever, headache, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and rash, along with joint and muscle pain. The illness is typically mild and lasts only a few days.

Although caused by a different virus, the symptoms of Zika virus infection can appear very similar to those of dengue feverExternal link. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against Zika virus infection.

The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that travellers protect themselves from mosquito bitesExternal link when travelling to these destinations. 


Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic at least six weeks before you travel.

  • Protect yourself from mosquito bitesExternal link, particularly during peak mosquito biting times around sunrise and sunset.
  • If you develop symptoms similar to Zika virus infection when you are travelling, or after you return, see a health care provider and tell them where you have been travelling or living.