First travel-related case of Zika virus confirmed in North Carolina

- The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced the first case of Zika virus infection in a North Carolina resident.

An adult was confirmed with the virus after recently traveling to a country with ongoing Zika virus transmission.

The patient' symptoms have resolved, according to the NCDHHS.

“As long as the outbreak continues in Central and South America and the Caribbean, we expect to see more travel-related Zika virus infections in our state," said Randall Williams, MD, State Health Director. "While travel-related cases don’t present a public health threat to North Carolina, we always actively monitor emerging global situations and adjust resources to meet needs.” 

No cases of the disease are known to have been developed in NC or anywhere else in the United States, with the exception of one infection in Texas attributed to sexual transimmison, according to NCDHHS.

The NCDHHS says as of Feb. 18, 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported travel-related Zika virus infections in 21 other states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“We have anticipated all along that travel-related cases would be identified in North Carolina,” said Megan Davies, MD, State Epidemiologist. “We want to take this opportunity to reinforce that travelers to any of the countries with active Zika transmission should follow precautions to minimize their exposure to mosquito bites.”

While the primary mosquitoes that carry Zika virus are not believed to be widespread in North Carolina, individuals are always encouraged, as a routine precaution, to take steps to prevent mosquito bites. Travelers can protect themselves by:

  • Wearing insect repellent registered with the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants.
  • Using air conditioning or make sure window and door screens are in place.

For more information on the virus click here.

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