April 22, 2016

Test confirms fourth Missouri traveler infected with Zika virus

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services confirmed a case of Zika virus in a pregnant Missouri woman who had travelled to Nicaragua, a known area of Zika transmission. This is the fourth confirmed case of Zika virus infection reported in a Missouri resident.

Nearly 80 percent of people infected with the virus will have no symptoms. Typically, symptoms are mild and include fever, rash, joint soreness and/or redness of eyes.

International health officials are examining the connection between pregnant women contracting the virus and a birth defect called microcephaly in their newborn infants. According to the CDC, babies with microcephaly often have smaller head sizes and brains that might not have developed properly.

According to the CDC, Zika virus has the potential to be spread through a mosquito bite, through unprotected sexual contact, through blood transfusion and an infected pregnant woman can pass Zika virus to her fetus during pregnancy.

There is not currently a vaccine for Zika virus. The best prevention measure is to avoid mosquito bites in areas with ongoing transmission. There have been no reported cases of Zika virus contracted from a mosquito bite in Missouri. Ways to avoid mosquito bites while outdoors include wearing EPA-registered insect repellent with DEET, wearing pants and long sleeves, or remaining indoors in an air conditioned environment.

The CDC is recommending pregnant women avoid traveling to Zika-affected areas which include countries ranging from Mexico into the Caribbean, Central American and South America.

Since the beginning of the year, DHSS has regularly updated health care providers and the public about Zika virus in addition to coordinating the approval of Missourians for testing.

Please consult CDC resources for a listing of all areas and other information about Zika virus: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/.

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