Sitka, Alaska is the most recent site of the Zika Virus in the United States. The illness was confirmed when a Midwestern man visiting this city tested positive for the virus after contracting it during one of his visits in Central America.
The Alaska Divison of Public Health stated in a press release that the man is not a resident of Sitka and was only visiting the city for work. He was tested at Sitka’s Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital after showing symptoms specific to the Zika virus such as fever, red eyes, and a full-body rash. The confirmation of the infection was determined through a blood analys.
The patient managed to recover after a small period of hospitalization and is currently at his home in the Midwest, according to the press release.
Stacy Smith, spokesperson for the hospital, has assured people that the Zika virus has no chance of affecting the local community since
“the very limited area of the hospital in which the patient was treated has been thoroughly disinfected and infection control precautions were taken to secure patient and staff safety.”
In a phone interview, Dr. Joe McLaughlin, a state epidemiologist, said that the patient was infected in a recent visit to Nicaragua but declined to mention where the man was from, citing patient confidentiality. The doctor reiterated that the Zika Virus in Sitka isn’t cause for concern regarding its spreading through Alaska mosquitoes.
Although there is no vaccine for the virus, it only produces mild symptoms in adults lasting up to a week. However, if the virus infects women during pregnancy, it can cause serious birth defects such as microcephaly, a condition characterized by a small head and brain.
In recent weeks, the number of Zika virus cases has increased up to a few hundred; most infections are travel-related and only a few cases of sexual transmission or through mosquitoes.
The most recent cases of Zika infections in the United States are in San Francisco and Miami, where there have been taken measures to control the mosquito population to prevent any mass transmission of the virus.
Although not as dangerous as Ebola, for example, the increased number of Zika cases should still be of some worry to the US. But after Congress blocked the Zika bill last month and now being in recess, any federal support to state agencies dealing with the virus, won’t be coming soon.
How worried are you about the Zika virus? Do you live in the areas with reported cases?
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