PRESS RELEASE

Champaign Health District Reports Zika Virus Case in Returning Traveler from a Zika-Affected Country

    Champaign County Health District is reporting one case of Zika virus in a returning traveler.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting over 1800 travel-associated cases of Zika virus in the United States.  The Ohio Department of Health reports 30 travel related cases in Ohio with 1 being acquired by sexual transmission.

    Zika virus is primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, and there is no indication that it can spread from person to person through casual contact. It can be spread from a man to a woman through sexual transmission, so couples should take steps to prevent the spread of Zika virus infection by using a condom.

    “There is no vaccine available for Zika virus at this time, so it’s important for Ohioans traveling to Zika-affected countries to take steps to prevent mosquito bites, especially pregnant women,” said Champaign Health District health commissioner Jeff Webb.

    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. However, Zika virus infection has been associated with certain birth defects.

    The primary mosquito (Aedes aegypti, called the yellow fever mosquito) that transmits Zika virus is found in the tropics and southern U.S., but it is not known to be established in Ohio. A “relative” of the mosquito (Aedes albopictus, called the Asian tiger mosquito) is found in parts of Ohio and may potentially transmit Zika virus.

    Those who travel to places where Zika is known to be present, please take precautions by wearing long clothing, using mosquito repellant, and staying clear of areas that may be breeding grounds for mosquitos.

    The Ohio Department of Health website at http://www.odh.ohio.gov/zika has more information about Zika virus and links to CDC resources including travel advisories for countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.