Zika virus is here 🙁
11Alive – A new year, a new virus, the Georgia Department of Public Health has confirmed the first travel-related case of the Zika virus in the state of Georgia.
According to the DPH, the person, who isn’t pregnant, traveled to Colombia between the end of December and the first week of January. That person has since made a full recovery.
Tests are still being done on specimens from several other Georgia residents who have traveled to areas where Zika outbreaks are ongoing.
“It is extremely important that individuals who have traveled to countries where there are on-going Zika virus outbreaks keep guard against additional mosquito bites,” said Cherie Drenzek, D.V.M, state epidemiologist for DPH in a statement.
“During the first week or so of infection, Zika virus can be passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then transmit the virus to other people.”
The mosquito-borne Zika virus, linked to an epidemic of birth defects in Brazil, is spreading quickly throughout the Americas. The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern.” Texas recently announced that the Zika virus was sexually transmitted and a few people are affected.
DPH is cautioning travelers — especially women who are pregnant — headed to countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, among others.
The virus is primarily spread though mosquito bites, according to the DPH. Common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. Most people infected with Zika virus never know they are sick.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent Zika or to treat the virus.