Second case of Zika reported in Mississippi

The Mississippi Department of Health reports a second confirmed case of Zika.  The report comes from Noxubee County, where the person infected recently traveled to Haiti.

In the case reported from Madison County on Thursday, the infected individual also recently travel to Haiti.  Information on if the two cases are linked was not provided.

Zika has been seen in parts of Africa, Southeast Asia, and some Pacific islands for years, but has recently been reported in approximately 30 countries, mostly in the Caribbean, Central, and South America. The Zika virus is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. The breed of mosquito that is spreading Zika – Aedes Aegypti – has not been detected in Mississippi since the mid-1980s. The MSDH is currently conducting surveillance on all mosquito populations in the state.

Pregnant women or women who may get pregnant in the near future should avoid travel to countries with Zika transmission.  Pregnant women should avoid sexual contact – or only have protected sex using a condom – with any male who has recently returned from a country with Zika virus. These precautions should continue for the duration of the pregnancy. So far, six cases have been confirmed from sex between an infected male and his female partner.

“Pregnant women should avoid travel to these countries,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “At this time, the mosquito spreading Zika in Mexico, South America and the Caribbean is not known to be present in Mississippi.”

The MSDH advises that precautions should be taken by all travelers to countries with Zika outbreaks.  Precautions for travelers include basic protective measures against mosquito-borne illnesses such as using a recommended mosquito repellent that contains DEET while you are outdoors, avoiding areas where mosquitoes are prevalent, and wearing loose, light-colored clothing to cover the arms and legs when outdoors during the day or night.  Travelers recently returning from countries with ongoing Zika transmission should take special precautions to avoid mosquito bites in Mississippi to avoid transmitting the virus to local mosquitoes. Precautions should continue for three weeks. There are no available treatments or vaccines for Zika virus.

“The MSDH is working with medical partners across the state to ensure that the most current national guidelines for preventing and testing for Zika are being followed,” said Dr. Dobbs. “The MSDH Public Health Laboratory now has the ability to test for Zika in-house to allow for rapid turnaround and high volume testing should the need arise.”

For more information on Zika or other mosquito-borne illnesses, visit www.HealthyMS.com/Zika. Follow MSDH by e-mail and social media at HealthyMS.com/connect.

Categories: Health, Local News, Mississippi State News, News

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