GADPH confirms first travel-related case of Zika virus in GA - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

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GADPH confirms first travel-related case of Zika virus in GA

(Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

(WTVM) - According to the Georgia Department of Health on Wednesday, a Georgia resident has tested positive for the Zika virus, marking the first travel-related case of Zika virus reported by the state. 

The testing was done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The person, who was not pregnant, traveled to Colombia between the end of December and the first of January and has made a full recovery, according to the GPH said in a press release. 

“It is extremely important that individuals who have traveled to countries where there are on-going Zika virus outbreaks keep guard against additional mosquito bites,” said Cherie Drenzek, D.V.M, state epidemiologist for DPH. “During the first week or so of infection, Zika virus can be passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then transmit the virus to other people.”

Tests are still being done on specimens from several other Georgia residents with travel history to areas where Zika virus outbreaks are ongoing. The GADPH warns that the number of Zika cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States will likely increase.

''These imported cases could result in local spread of the virus in some areas of the country, including Georgia," the press release says.

DPH cautions travelers, especially women who are pregnant, headed to countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, among others.

There are urgent concerns about Zika virus infection and pregnant women. Zika virus infections have been confirmed in infants with microcephaly and in the current outbreak in Brazil, a marked increase in the number of infants born with microcephaly has been reported.

Pregnant women or women trying to get pregnant should not travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women who have traveled to these areas should consult their physician immediately. Health care providers should ask all pregnant women about recent travel.

Zika virus is primarily spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usuallymild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring
hospitalization is uncommon.

Most people infected with Zika virus never know they are sick. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika. Travelers should check CDC travel advisories for their destinations and take precautions to protect themselves from mosquitos:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535 (use as directed)
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents)
  • Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms

The number of Zika cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States will likely increase. These imported cases could result in local spread of the virus in some areas of the country, including Georgia.

The complete list of Zika affected countries can be found by clicking here

Check back for more updates. 

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