SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 1, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — A Utah resident has tested positive for the Zika virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC identified the person as a child between the ages of 2 and 10 who recently traveled to an affected country, then returned to Utah. The child has exhibited symptoms, including the typical rash, but has not experienced any complications.
“It isn’t surprising that Utah has an imported case of Zika virus since so many of our residents travel to and from areas where the disease is currently being transmitted,” said Dr. Allyn Nakashima, State Epidemiologist with the Utah Department of Health (UDOH), in a prepared statement.
“Zika virus, with the possible link to the birth defect microcephaly, is understandably frightening,” she said.
The Utah child presents no danger to anyone he or she may encounter, said Charla Haley, public information for the Utah Department of Health.
“It’s not transmissible person to person, except by sex,” Haley told Gephardt Daily. “And we don’t even have the mosquito here. That species of mosquito doesn’t like the cold.”
Zika virus is transmitted to humans primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. Visit this site for the most current list of countries affected by Zika virus.
Sexual transmission of Zika virus can occur, although there is limited data about the risk. The virus generally only causes fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes, and is almost always a very mild illness. Most people won’t require testing.
Approximately 80 percent of those infected never show any symptoms of the disease, while approximately 20 percent will have only mild symptoms.
Public health officials encourage pregnant women to postpone traveling to affected areas, if possible, or talk to their health care provider before considering travel.
For anyone who does plan to visit the affected countries, prevention is the best approach to avoiding Zika virus infection. Steps to prevent mosquito bites include using insect repellents containing DEET, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and removing standing water where mosquitoes live and breed.
For more information on Zika virus and how to protect yourself, visit www.cdc.gov/zika. For women who are pregnant and have questions about Zika virus, please call the MotherToBaby program at 1-800-822-2229, text 855-999-3525, or chat live or email www.MotherToBaby.org.