Zika virus update: Cause for alarm in Ohio?

mosquito bite

A widespread Zika outbreak is unlikely to occur in Ohio, according to public health officials, despite cases of the virus occurring in the state.

The mosquito borne virus, which is common amongst the equatorial belt form Africa to Asia, has found its way into Ohio with the department of health reporting at least six cases.

All of the cases reported were noted as being contracted out of Ohio during travel and according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been no reported cases of the disease’s transmission through mosquito bites in Ohio or anywhere else in the continental United States at this time.

The primary transporters of this virus are two types of mosquitoes, the yellow fever mosquito and the Asian tiger mosquito. Both can be found in the United States, with the latter being identified in 37 Ohio counties. The Zika virus was first discovered in 1947 and by 2007 only 14 cases were documented to have occurred, however it is speculated that many cases did indeed occur and were undocumented.

The symptoms of this virus include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten. The illness hardly ever leads to hospitalization and chances of dying from the disease are very low. Once a person has been infected they are likely to protected from future affections according to the CDC.

There are currently no vaccines for the virus. The Ohio State Department and the CDC both state that the best ways to prevent contracting the Zika virus while traveling is to:

1) Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

2) Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.

3) Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

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