COLUMBUS – The Ohio Department of
Health is reporting Ohio’s first case of Zika virus in a returning traveler
from Haiti, a 30-year-old Cuyahoga County woman, city of Cleveland. The Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was reporting 35 cases of Zika virus
in 12 states and the District of Columbia prior to Ohio’s case.
Zika virus is primarily
transmitted through a mosquito bite, and there is no indication that it can
spread from person to person through casual contact. CDC has confirmed a U.S.
case of Zika virus infection in a non-traveler after the person’s sexual
partner returned from an affected country and developed symptoms.
Planning is underway for a Zika
virus tabletop exercise to ensure Ohio’s preparedness at the local and state
levels prior to the 2016 mosquito season that runs from May to October.
Of people infected with the Zika
virus, 80 percent do not have any symptoms. When symptoms occur, they are often
mild, lasting from several days to a week, and include fever, rash, joint and
muscle pain, conjunctivitis (red eyes), and headache. Severe disease requiring
hospitalization is uncommon. Due to the possible association between Zika virus
infections in pregnant women and certain birth defects, CDC recommends that
pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant consider postponing travel to
areas with Zika virus transmission.
“There is no vaccine available
for Zika virus so it’s important for Ohioans traveling to affected areas to
take steps to prevent mosquito bites,” said Dr. Mary DiOrio, medical director
of the Ohio Department of Health. “There have been no reported cases of Zika
virus disease transmission through mosquito bites anywhere in the continental
To prevent potential transmission
through sexual contact, CDC recommends men with a pregnant sex partner abstain
from sexual activity or consistently and correctly use condoms during sex for
the duration of the pregnancy. CDC also recommends that pregnant women without
symptoms of Zika virus disease be offered testing 2 to 12 weeks after returning
from areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission.
CDC has issued a travel alert for
people traveling to the following regions and countries where Zika virus
transmission is ongoing: the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin
Islands, U.S. territories; American Samoa; Barbados; Bolivia; Brazil; Cape
Verde; Colombia; Costa Rica; Curaҫao; Dominican
Republic; Ecuador; El Salvador;
French Guiana; Guadeloupe; Guatemala; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras;
Jamaica; Martinique; Mexico;
Nicaragua; Panama; Paraguay; Saint Martin; Samoa; Suriname; Tonga; and
Venezuela. Zika virus disease has
historically occurred in Africa, Southeast Asia and islands in the Pacific
Ocean. In May 2015, Zika virus
was found for the first time in the Western Hemisphere in northeastern Brazil.
The virus has since spread throughout much of the Caribbean, Central America
and South America.
The primary mosquito that
transmits Zika virus is found in the tropics and southern U.S., but it is not
established in Ohio.Another type of
mosquito found in Ohio may potentially transmit Zika virus, although it has not
yet been implicated in the transmission of human cases.
“Prevention of mosquito-borne
Zika virus transmission is the same as prevention of any other mosquitoborne
diseases,” Dr. DiOrio said. “This includes taking precautions to prevent
mosquito bites – such as using insect repellents, limiting exposure where and
when mosquitoes are most active, and removing breeding sources such as
containers that collect standing water.”