Health officials confirm Zika case in Clark County

CLARK COUNTY, OH (WCMH) – Health officials in Clark County have confirmed that a case of Zika has been diagnosed in a person who had recently traveled abroad.

The Clark County Combined Health District (CCCHD) said the person had recently returned from a known “Zika hot spot” in the Caribbean.

According to the health district, there is no evidence that Zika is being transmitted locally.

Health commissioner Charles Patterson said they will begin placing mosquito traps in the Willow Chase neighborhood, where the Zika patient is recovering at home, sometime early next week.

“We’re looking for the Aedes albopictus mosquito which is the only one we’d see in Ohio that could potentially transmit Zika,” he said. “If we have a known case of Zika and we have the mosquito that’s known to be able to transmit it, then to us that equals we have to do additional control measures to reduce those specific mosquitoes.”

Patterson said that species of mosquito has been found in Clark County before, but not in that specific neighborhood.

“The focus for us now is to prevent our infected individual from getting bit by a mosquito, having those mosquitoes then have it their population and go bite someone else in the neighborhood,” he said.

In the meantime, they’re asking neighbors to eliminate standing water where mosquitoes lay their eggs, in order to help reduce the population. Patterson said you should also protect yourself from getting bit.

“It is very unlikely that we’re going to see any local transmission of this Zika virus, but at this point we’re better safe than sorry,” he said.

Zika is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. The CCCHD says the most common symptoms of Zika virus disease “are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes).” The illness is typically mild and goes away within one week.

There is no vaccine to prevent Zika. The best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. Here’s how:

  •         Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  •         Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  •         Take steps to control mosquitoes inside and outside your home.
  •         Treat your clothing and gear with permethrin or buy pre-treated items.
  •         Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. Always follow the product label instructions.
  •         When used as directed, these insect repellents are proven safe and effective even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
  •         Do not use insect repellents on babies younger than 2 months old.
  •         Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than 3 years old.
  •         Mosquito netting can be used to cover babies younger than 2 months old in carriers, strollers, or cribs to protect them from mosquito bites.
  •         Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.
  •         Prevent sexual transmission of Zika by using condoms or not having sex.

 

The CDC recommends pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant consider postponing travel to areas with Zika virus transmission and that men with a pregnant sex partner consistently and correctly use condoms during sex or abstain from sexual activity for the duration of the pregnancy to prevent potential transmission.   If a couple has a male partner and only he travels to a Zika risk area, the couple should consider using condoms or not having sex for 6 months.   If the female partner traveled, the couple should use condoms or not have sex for at least 8 weeks.

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