Pregnant Woman In NYC Infected With Zika Virus

| by Kathryn Schroeder
Woodland MosquitoWoodland Mosquito

A pregnant woman in New York City has been diagnosed with the Zika virus.

She is one of at least 31 people across 11 states who has contracted the virus, ABC News reported. Two other pregnant women were diagnosed with the disease in Illinois earlier this month.

The Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms of the virus include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness usually lasts from several days to a week and rarely results in death.

The Zika virus is actively being transmitted in the Caribbean, Central and South American countries, as well as Cape Verde in Africa and Samoa.

To date, the virus has not been transmitted in the continental United States. Those infected likely contracted the disease outside of the country. Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have had at least 20 people contract the virus locally, ABC News reported.

“Because Zika virus is primarily transmitted by infected mosquitoes, there is  very limited chance of local transmission in New York during the winter,” New York Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said in a statement, according to ABC News. “Even so, the Department of Health is taking steps now to protect the health of all New Yorkers and to prepare for the warmer months when mosquitos will be active in New York.”

Other states with confirmed cases of the Zika virus include Texas, Hawaii, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Arkansas, Virginia, California, and Minnesota.

There is no vaccine for the Zika virus, according to the CDC. Treatment is similar to that of influenza: rest, fluids, and acetaminophen to relieve fever and pain. The CDC recommends that pregnant women in any trimester consider postponing travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.

There have been cases in Brazil where pregnant women infected with the Zika virus had children with microcephaly, a birth defect characterized by a small head and brain, which may cause developmental delays.

All travelers to areas with active Zika virus transmission should take steps to prevent mosquito bites, such as wearing long sleeve pants and shirts and using insect repellent.

Sources: ABC News, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / Photo credit: Katja Schulz/Flickr

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