ZIKA UPDATE 7/23/18Jenny Abercrombie
There have been recent reports, from new agencies and other organizations, about Zika cases in the United States for 2018. It seemed important to clarify exactly what those reports mean at this time, while also stating that the current status in the United States could change at any time. Those areas with mosquitos that can carry the Zika virus need to be aware of this possibility, particularly after high rain/standing water events.
Specifically, although there are currently Zika cases in the United State, there have been NO locally transmitted cases in the continental U.S. for 2018. Local transmission means that there must be two cases of Zika, in a given area, without either having traveled to a known area of Zika transmission or had sex with someone who had traveled. However, there have been cases of Zika infection that are imported, meaning that individuals have traveled to an area where Zika is being locally transmitted and have been bitten by an infected mosquito, or it has been transmitted sexually from someone that traveled to an area where Zika-infected mosquitos exist. There are also cases in the U. S. Territories of Puerto Rico and the U. S. Virgin Islands. The majority of Zika cases currently being reported are in pregnant women since they are the group that is regularly screened, even if there are no signs of a local outbreak. Testing for those that show signs of Zika illness or have been occupationally exposed (an extremely small number) may also be performed.
There are many areas in the world where Zika is still being locally transmitted and those areas include, along with those listed above, some countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America, Africa and the Pacific Islands. This information is important when planning; travel warnings and recommendations can be found in a link below.
Most individuals who become infected with Zika will have no lasting effects. Many people will never even know that they were infected because there are such mild symptoms, or none at all, associated with Zika infection. Zika infection during pregnancy can lead to loss of the pregnancy, as well as significant birth defects and developmental delays. Some countries that have had large numbers of Zika infections have reported an increase in cases with Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS). The CDC does believe that there is an association between Zika and GBS, but only a small percentage of people with Zika develop GBS.
The following links are provided for those desiring more information:
Travel and Zika Hot Spots:
Occupational Risk & Exposure Guidance: