Ohio reports first Zika case


CLEVELAND — Health officials reported Ohio’s first Zika virus case, involving a 30-year-old woman who returned to Cleveland after visiting Haiti and showed symptoms in late January.

Ohio’s Department of Health said Tuesday the case is among three dozen in 13 states and Washington, D.C.

Acording to the Associated Press, there’s no vaccine for the virus, which primarily spreads through bites from a mosquito not typically found in Ohio. Officials plan a preparedness exercise before Ohio’s mosquito season begins in May.

Many people infected don’t get sick. Some experience mild illness with symptoms including fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. Officials are investigating whether there’s a link between Zika infections in pregnant women and a rare defect in which babies are born with abnormally small heads.

Officials wouldn’t disclose whether the infected Cleveland woman was pregnant.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says Zika is caused by Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.

The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika.

CDC says that the Aedes species mosquitoes can be found in the United States. These mosquitoes can become infected with and spread Zika virus. U.S. travelers who visit a country where Zika is found could become infected if bitten by a mosquito.

With the recent outbreaks, the number of Zika virus disease cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States will likely increase. These imported cases may result in local spread of the virus in some areas of the United States. CDC has been monitoring these epidemics and is prepared to address cases imported into the United States and cases transmitted locally.

CDC has issued a travel notice for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.

This notice follows reports in Brazil of microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. However, additional studies are needed to further characterize this relationship. More studies are planned to learn more about the risks of Zika virus infection during pregnancy.

For more information visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov or the Ohio Department of Health website at www.odh.ohio.gov.

Among three dozen cases in 13 states

Staff report

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