Zika Virus In Westchester NY
The Zika virus made its way to Westchester, officials said.
The Lower Hudson Valley’s latest Zika case was reported after a man traveled outside the United States and returned with the virus, Caren Halbfinger, spokeswoman for the Westchester County Department of Health, said Thursday. It is the first confirmed case in Westchester, she said.
Halbfinger said the man has fully recovered from the virus that has infiltrated more than 30 countries and territories in the Western Hemisphere, including Central and South America and the Caribbean.
Westchester County is not releasing further details on the case, which is the third confirmed Zika case in the region recently.
A Rockland County woman tested positive for the virus after traveling to South America, and a Putnam County resident was diagnosed with it after traveling outside the United States. A second Putnam resident was being tested for Zika.
One type of mosquito that can transmit the virus, the Asian tiger mosquito, is found in the Lower Hudson Valley, but scientists don’t yet know if the insects in this region are infected.
Lower Hudson Valley physicians have been advising pregnant women to avoid traveling to countries with high risk for the Zika virus, which caused the World Health Organization to declare a public health emergency.
“This virus is a concern for international travelers and their families,” Dr. Sherlita Amler, Westchester County health commissioner, said in a press release. “While the symptoms of Zika in most people are mild, Zika has been linked to birth defects, so it is safest for pregnant women to avoid travel to regions where Zika is prevalent.”
The virus, primarily transmitted by mosquitoes, can cause illness and has been linked to birth defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About one in five people infected with the virus become sick, according to the CDC. Zika’s symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, red eyes, muscle pain and headaches.
The illness, which is usually mild, typically lasts a few days to a week. The virus is usually out of a person’s blood after a week.