Southwest District Health has reported a third case of travel-related Zika virus infection in Idaho. Here’s the news release:
CANYON COUNTY REPORTS TRAVEL-RELATED ZIKA
Southwest District Health officials confirmed today that a Canyon County male in his 40’s has tested positive for the Zika virus, after traveling to an area outside the U. S. with active Zika virus transmission. He was not hospitalized. The case is yet to be interviewed, but initial information suggests this was likely travel-related. This is the 3rd case of travel-acquired Zika virus disease to be reported in Idaho this year. There have been no locally-acquired cases in Idaho. At this time, there is no vaccine or medicine for the virus.
The Zika virus is an emerging mosquito-borne disease in the Western Hemisphere. It spreads to people primarily through the bite of two species of infected mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus). These mosquitoes also carry dengue fever and chikungunya. These two species of mosquitoes are not native to Idaho.
According to Randi Pedersen, Epidemiologist for Southwest District Health, Zika typically does not cause symptoms or causes only a mild illness lasting up to a week. Some infected cases experience mild symptoms, such as fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes for up to a week, but many people don’t even know they are infected.
However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause the pregnant woman to pass the virus to her fetus. Zika has been linked to cases of microcephaly, a serious birth defect, as well as other severe brain defects. It is strongly advised that pregnant women NOT travel to any area with Zika.
Pedersen says the disease may also be spread from an infected person to his or her sex partners during unprotected sex. Research also suggests the Zika infection is strongly associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) in adults.
It is known that everyone—regardless of gender or age—is at risk if bitten by a mosquito carrying the disease. If you travel to areas where Zika exists, it is best to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. You can prevent mosquito bites by:
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants
- Eliminating standing water inside and outside your home
- Staying in air-conditioned facilities with window and door screens that keep mosquitoes outside
- Treating your clothing and gear with permethrin or buy pre-treated items
- Using EPA-registered insect repellants
- Sleeping under a mosquito bed net if air conditioning or functioning window screens are not available
As of September 7, 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 2,920 cases of Zika virus disease this year in the U. S. Ninety-nine percent of these cases were travel-associated, while 43 were locally-acquired cases from Florida.
For updated information about areas with Zika, go to www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/index.html.
# # #
Laurie Boston, CCPH
Public Information Officer
Southwest District Health