First confirmed case of Zika virus reported in Virginia

First confirmed case of Zika virus reported in Virginia

(WWBT) - A Northern Virginia resident has contracted the Zika virus infection while traveling in a different country where the virus is easily transmitted, according to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). This is the first reported laboratory-confirmed case in Virginia.

"Zika virus is acquired through the bite of an infected mosquito. Because it is not mosquito season in Virginia, this individual with Zika virus infection poses no risk to other Virginians," said State Health Commissioner Marissa J. Levine, MD, MPH, FAAFP. "However, this is the time of year when more people do travel to warmer climates and countries where Zika virus is found. Pregnant women are strongly encouraged to consider postponing travel to Zika-affected countries while pregnant. In addition, we are urging everyone, especially pregnant women, to check health travel advisories before leaving the United States and to take preventive measures when traveling in affected areas of the world."

The CDC issued a travel alert for people traveling to certain regions and countries where the Zika virus transmission is ongoing. There have been reports in Brazil where infants were born with unusually small heads and other abnormalities due to increased Zika virus activity. The CDC has not officially linked the Zika virus and birth defects, but they are investigating.

"The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Symptoms can last from several days to a week. There is no vaccine to prevent and no medicine to treat Zika virus infection," VDH said in a press release.

The VDH says travelers should take steps to prevent mosquito bites when traveling to countries where the Zika virus has been reported. Click here to find more information on the virus.

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