Local Public Health Officials Urge Awareness of Zika Virus

Published Thursday, February 4, 2016 at 10:01 am

The Appalachian District Health Department is working closely with the North Carolina Department for Health and Human Services Division of Public Health, which works directly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to monitor the Zika virus.

“We are urging pregnant women to be aware of the travel recommendations issued by CDC and NC Department of Health and Human Services,” said Beth Lovette, Health Director.

adhdZika is a disease caused by Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika will get sick. For people who get sick, the illness is usually mild. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Symptoms typically begin 2 to 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

To date, no locally transmitted Zika cases have been reported in the continental United States.

Travel Notice

CDC has issued a travel notice (Level 2-Practice Enhanced Precautions) for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. A map of the affected areas is available from the CDC and will be updated as changes occur. Find information about how to avoid mosquito bites here.

Zika Virus and Pregnancy

Due to reports of microcephaly (birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age) and other poor outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant, the CDC recommends that pregnant women consider postponing travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.

Until more is known, and out of an abundance of caution, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant:

Pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women who do travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctor or other healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.

Women trying to become pregnant should consult with their healthcare provider before traveling to these areas and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip.

Consult with your healthcare provider should you have any questions or concerns.

For more information on the Zika virus, visit the CDC’s website at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html

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For more information about this topic, please contact Jennifer Greene, Deputy Director, by email at jen.bryan@apphealth.com or by phone at (828) 264-4995 ext. 3117.

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