MOBILE, AL (WKRG) — The Mobile County Health Department says that a second travel-related case of the Zika virus has been confirmed in Mobile County.
According to the MCHD, the patient contracted Zika while traveling in the Caribbean. The confirmed case is the 29th travel-related positive test in Alabama.
Because of patient privacy rights under HIPAA, no identifying information of the Mobile County patient will be made available to the public.
Baldwin County is not among those with a Zika virus case.
The first travel-related case of Zika in Mobile County was reported two weeks ago on August 16.
“MCHD will continue to monitor the situation and assist the community in identifying other possible cases,” said Dr. Bernard H. Eichold II, Mobile County’s Health Officer. “The best prevention is eliminating potential mosquito-breeding sites.” Because of patient privacy rights under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), no additional identifying information on either Mobile County case will be made available to the public.
“Persons should exercise caution and follow Alabama Department of Public Health recommendations regarding Zika,” said Dr. Bernard H. Eichold II, Mobile County’s Health Officer.
The Mobile County Health Department will conduct a news conference today at noon to discuss the situation.
Zika virus is transmitted primarily through the bites of Aedes species mosquitoes and through sexual activity. Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly that is a sign of incomplete brain development. Doctors have also found other problems in pregnancies and among fetuses and infants infected with Zika virus before birth.
There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika. People infected with the Zika virus may have no symptoms–it causes only mild symptoms in one out of five people. People usually do not get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected.
The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other symptoms include muscle pain and headache. These symptoms usually last for several days to a week. Symptoms of Zika are similar to other viruses spread through mosquito bites, like dengue and chikungunya.
“We have been working with a variety of partners, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the medical community, to identify individuals who need to be tested for the Zika virus and with those who have tested positive,” said State Health Officer Dr. Tom Miller two weeks ago.
“Additional precautions are needed for pregnant women and women of childbearing age. Public health environmentalists have been helping communities reduce mosquito breeding grounds around their homes and communities.”
The best way to protect against Zika is to prevent mosquito bites by wearing an Environmental Protection Agency-registered repellent. Other recommendations are as follows:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Stay and sleep in places with air conditioning or window and door screens.
- Remove standing water.
Pregnant women should not travel to Zika-affected areas. If a pregnant woman must travel to one of these areas, she should discuss the trip with her healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during her travel.
Returning travelers infected with Zika can spread the virus through mosquito bites. During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in a person’s blood and can pass from an infected person to a mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people. If a woman is pregnant and has a sex partner who lives in or has traveled to an area with Zika, the couple should not have sex, or use condoms the right way, every time, during the remainder of the pregnancy.
For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, http://www.cdc.gov/zika, or the Alabama Department of Public Health website, http://www.adph.org/mosquito. To learn more about local mosquito-control efforts, visit http://mchd.org, and under “Services” select “Vector Control.”