Thursday, April 19, 2018
Health

Pinellas has Florida's first sexually transmitted Zika case of 2017

A person in Pinellas County is the first in Florida to test positive for sexually transmitted Zika this year, according to the Florida Department of Health.

This brings the statewide total to 90 known cases of the virus contracted in 2017.

The individual's partner recently traveled to Cuba, after which he or she fell ill with symptoms consistent with those associated with Zika. Both the person who traveled to Cuba and their partner tested positive for the virus, which can be transmitted by mosquito or sexually.

So far this year, there is no evidence of transmission of Zika by mosquito in Florida, the Health Department said.

The department did not disclose a more specific location of the people infected but said that mosquito spraying has been intensified in the area.

Those who are infected with the virus either do not experience any symptoms at all or suffer very minor ones, including fever, rash, headache, joint pain, red eyes and muscle pain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A recent analysis from the CDC, however, found the risk to pregnant women is much greater than researchers initially thought. Its key finding was one in 10 pregnant women with confirmed Zika infections in the United States last year had a baby or fetus with serious birth defects.

It's important after returning from areas that have known Zika risks to prevent bug bites for at least three weeks, the Health Department said. Otherwise, local mosquitoes could become infected and transmit the disease to others. Using condoms is also an important part of ensuring the virus doesn't spread.

Areas where Zika continues to be a threat include nearly all of Central and South America, with the exception of Chile and Uruguay, and most Caribbean islands. Central Africa and Southeast Asia also continue to see Zika transmission.

The CDC also recommends all pregnant women get screened for Zika at each prenatal care visit.

Mosquitoes can breed in as little as 1 teaspoon of water, the Health Department said, so it's important for residents to drain any standing water.

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