Alaska resident tests positive for Zika virus

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) – An Alaska resident tests positive for the Zika virus, after travelling to Central America, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

The individual was diagnosed, after returning to Alaska; however, the general public is not at risk for virus transmission, says Dr. Jay Butler, Director of Public Health and Chief Medical Officer for Alaska.

“The Zika virus cannot be spread between humans through casual contact and is transmitted only by two species of mosquitoes native to warmer climates that do not live here in Alaska,” says Dr. Butler.

This is the third recorded case of Zika, in Alaska, according to ADHSS.

Previously, one case was reported in 2007, after an Alaskan returned from Micronesia. And another case was reported in 2016, after a tourist made a direct flight from Central America to Alaska.

When traveling to Zika prevalent areas, ADHSS says there are some basic precautions that can be taken to better protect yourself, including:
– Using insect repellent.
– Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
– Sleeping under mosquito nets.
– Using screens or closing windows.
– And removing standing water to discourage mosquito breeding.

ADHSS asks that suspected Zika infections be reported to the Alaska Section of Epidemiology at (907) 269-8000.

Update: Please note that while the Zika virus cannot be transmitted via casual contact, it can be transmitted via sexual contact and from a pregnant mother to her fetus, during pregnancy, according to the CDC.

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