The Cincinnati Health Department announced its first official case of the Zika Virus in Cincinnati at a press conference Friday afternoon.
Health Commissioner Dr. O'dell Owens confirmed a 55-year-old man tested positive for Zika after he traveled to the Caribbean. The man was hospitalized after he began experiencing symptoms upon his arrival home to Cincinnati. He had recovered and gone home.
However, testing from the CDC came back Thursday confirming the man had contracted the virus.
According to Owens, this is the first identified sexual transmission of the Zika virus in the state of Ohio.
A total of 820 cases of Zika virus have been reported in U.S. states and the District of Columbia as of June 22, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This includes six cases from Kentucky.
All cases reported to date in the U.S. have been associated with travel to a Zika-affected area.
“Zika virus is primarily transmitted by mosquitoes,” said Lynne M. Saddler, MD, MPH, District Director of Health. “Mosquitoes become infected when they bite a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites.”
The most common symptoms of Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes (conjunctivitis).
About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika will get sick. The illness is usually mild. For this reason, many people may not realize they have been infected.
There have been reports of a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly (a condition in which a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age) and other brain abnormalities in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant.
To prevent additional travel-associated cases, the Health Department recommends:
"It is possible for Zika to be transmitted to our local mosquitoes by infected travelers—even those who do not have symptoms,” said Saddler.
“Infected mosquitoes could then transmit the virus to other people, so it’s also key that Northern Kentuckians take steps to prevent mosquito bites at home as well,” he said.
Precautions at home include:
For more information, including fact sheets and additional resources for pregnant women and travelers, visit http://www.nkyhealth.org/zika.apsx.
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