Health officials: More Ohio Zika cases won’t be surprising

Health officials: More Ohio Zika cases won’t be surprising

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - More confirmed Zika cases in Ohio won't come as a surprise to state health officials.

In a tweet on Thursday, the Ohio Department of Health said additional patients infected by the virus can be anticipated due to the number of travelers returning to Ohio from Zika virus-affected areas.

A 30-year-old woman in Cleveland and a 21-year-old Stark County man have contracted the virus, ODH announced Tuesday. While the cases are not linked, both patients had recently returned from traveling to Haiti.

"There is no vaccine available for Zika virus so it's important for Ohioans traveling to affected areas to take steps to prevent mosquito bites," said ODH Medical Director Dr. Mary DiOrio.

A person in Indiana has also contracted the virus after traveling to Haiti.

Not much is known about the connection between the disease and infected mothers having babies born with abnormally small heads and potential brain damage.

Officials wouldn't disclose whether the infected Cleveland woman was pregnant.

There are at least 32 known cases in the continental U.S. None of those cases were transmitted through mosquito bites received anywhere in the continental U.S., health officials say.

The CDC has reported isolated cases of Zika virus spread through unprotected sexual contact with an infected person. There is no indication that it can spread from person to person through casual contact.

Health officials say severe Zika illness requiring hospitalization is uncommon.

Many people infected with Zika do not show symptoms. When symptoms occur, they are often mild and include fever, rash, joint and muscle pain, red eyes and headache.

Airlines are allowing travelers to change their plans if they are concerned.

"(Travelers) called in a lot and asked if they could change their reservations," said Cindy Ray who works for the airlines. "They were scared to go to St. Thomas and other areas."

In Ohio, health officials are planning exercises to ensure that state is prepared ahead of the 2016 mosquito season, which runs from May to October.

Copyright 2016 WXIX. All rights reserved.