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Health officials: NC resident contracted Zika while traveling abroad

Posted February 19

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— The state Department of Health and Human Services said Friday that a North Carolina resident contracted the Zika virus while traveling to a country where the virus has been spreading.

No additional details about the adult patient have been released, but officials said the patient's symptoms "have resolved." Officials didn't disclose what country the patient visited.

Health officials said no known cases of the virus have been acquired in the continental United States, with the exception of one infection in Texas attributed to sexual transmission.

As of Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported travel-related Zika infections in 21 other states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“As long as the outbreak continues in Central and South America and the Caribbean, we expect to see more travel-related Zika virus infections in our state," Randall Williams, North Carolina's state health director, said in a statement. "While travel-related cases don’t present a public health threat to North Carolina, we always actively monitor emerging global situations and adjust resources to meet needs.”

Zika virus is normally transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms can include rash, red eyes, fever and joint pain. Less common symptoms include muscle aches. Only about one in five people infected with Zika virus will show symptoms, officials said.

Pregnant women infected with Zika virus can pass the virus to unborn children, and a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other adverse pregnancy outcomes have been reported in some infants born to infected mothers, officials said.

The CDC has issued a travel advisory recommending pregnant women consider postponing travel to any area with active Zika virus transmission. Women who are trying to become pregnant should talk to their doctors about the risk of Zika virus infection before traveling.

While the primary mosquitoes that carry Zika virus are not believed to be widespread in North Carolina, individuals are always encouraged, as a routine precaution, to take steps to prevent mosquito bites.

Travelers can protect themselves by:

  • Wearing insect repellent registered with the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants
  • Using air conditioning or making sure window and door screens are in place
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  • Christine Cox Feb 19, 2016
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    "a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other adverse pregnancy outcomes have been reported in some infants born to infected mothers, officials said". What they don't say is that the vast majority of children with microcephaly were born to mothers who were NOT infected with Zika. Also the number of cases of microcephaly has been vastly inflated, plus there are at least 3 other plausible explanations for why the increase in this birth defect seems to be occurring. They are using a relatively minor virus (compared with Dengue) to scare people. Don't buy it!