Williams County reports Zika virus case

Cheryl Sanders
August 14, 2016

Like local officials, Murthy stressed that Puerto Ricans need to take the virus seriously, even though the extent of the infection is masked because eight out of 10 show no symptoms.

The Ministry of Health said that while there were 352 suspected cases of Zika, symptoms of other mosquito borne viruses have been reported in every parish of the tri island state.

Zika has been tied to a severe birth defect known as microcephaly, in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and under-developed brains. All of the local cases of Zika are believed to have been transmitted in the Wynwood neighborhood, a trendy arts neighborhood near Miami.

Among US states and territories, Puerto Rico is expected to see the worst of the Zika outbreak due to its tropical climate and a lack of infrastructure for mosquito control.

The virus is linked to microcephaly in the children of women who contract the virus while pregnant, according to the health district. "We will continue our campaign to guide Puerto Ricans on the steps needed to prevent becoming infected with Zika; especially to prevent the virus from affecting pregnant women".

In Palm Beach County, the health department has tested more than 50 pregnant women for Zika.

Health officials urge everyone who travels to an area with known outbreaks of Zika virus to take appropriate measures to avoid mosquito bites, such as wearing long trousers and shirts, staying in places with air conditioning, and using mosquito repellents.

Zika is spread when a sick person gets bit by a mosquito, which later bites another person. Scientists have been working to expedite the vaccine research, given concerns about Zika's ability to cause catastrophic birth defects in infants.

The Miami Herald reported Wednesday that representatives from the Florida Department of Health will be stationed at each of the six schools within the one-square-mile area north of downtown Miami where locally spread Zika cases have been reported. Mosquitoes that spread zika are aggressive daytime biters.

A 32-year-old woman, who recently returned from Jamaica, was informed earlier this week that her test was positive for the virus, said Rachel Aeschliman, director of nursing for the health department.

The CDC recommends pregnant women avoid traveling to Zika-affected areas, such as Mexico, the Caribbean, Central American, and South America.

The emergency was declared one day after the U.S. surgeon general visited Puerto Rico and said he expected 25% of Puerto Rico's almost 3.5 million people would be infected with Zika by the end of the year. Use your bug spray and wear long sleeves, if possible.

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