County Confirms First Travel-Related Zika Virus Case, But No Local Transmission Present   

Liberty, NY - Sullivan County Public Health Services has received confirmation that an individual from Sullivan County has a case of travel-related Zika virus. The individual recently traveled to South America where Zika virus is common.

Nancy McGraw, Sullivan County Public Health Director, noted, “There is currently NO local transmission of Zika virus from mosquitoes in Sullivan County, and there are no mosquitoes of the species type that can transmit the Zika virus in Sullivan County identified by surveillance performed by the NYS Department of Health.

“The risk is very minimal here for transmission of Zika virus to local residents or visitors from a mosquito bite,” McGraw added.

There is greater potential for Zika virus to be acquired by Sullivan County residents traveling to affected regions and other countries. Pregnant women and women of childbearing age should be aware of the potential risks and talk with their health care provider prior to travel.

Zika is transmitted primarily by the Aedes aegypti mosquito in South and Central America and other countries with warm climates where mosquitoes are widespread. Although Aedes aegypti mosquitos are not present in New York, a related species named Aedes albopictus is active in the downstate NY region and could potentially carry Zika and is thus being monitored by the New York State Department of Health. Parts of Texas and southern Florida have also had cases where people were infected with Zika virus by mosquito bites.

The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Symptoms can begin 2 to 7 days during or within 4 weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito and can last from several days to a week. The symptoms of Zika virus infection are usually very mild, and many people might not even realize they have been infected and they recover without any issues. However, there have been reports of increased cases of a birth defect known as microcephaly that may be associated with Zika virus infection among pregnant women.

Zika virus can be spread from a pregnant mother to her unborn child, and is associated with reports of certain birth defects. If you are pregnant and have a male partner that has travelled or lives in areas with Zika virus, it is recommended to abstain from sex, or use condoms for all sexual activities during your entire pregnancy. If you are pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider before travelling to an area with Zika virus transmission.

New York State Department of Health is offering Free Zika virus testing for persons who may have traveled to areas with Zika virus that have symptoms; pregnant women who have traveled to areas with Zika virus; pregnant women who have a male partner that traveled to areas of Zika virus and has had unprotected sex during pregnancy.

To avoid mosquito bites, which can transmit other diseases, take these preventative measures:

  • Wear long sleeve shirts and pants
  • Stay indoors when mosquitoes are most active
  • Use repellant products registered with the EPA

Mosquitoes breed in containers with clean water so please help by taking these steps:

  • Once a week, throw out items that hold water, such as buckets, tires, planters, toys, pools, flowerpots and trash containers to prevent mosquitoes from laying their eggs in them
  • If these mosquito breeding containers cannot be emptied out, use a mosquito dunk kit, which is a larvicide tablet you put into standing water. They are available for free by calling 1-888-364-4723.
  • Use screens on windows and doors; repair any holes to help keep mosquitoes out.
  • Use air conditioning if possible.

For more information go to:

  • New York State Department of Health Zika website @ www.ny.gov/Zika
  • New York State Department of Health Zika Informational Helpline at 1-888-364-4723.
  • Sullivan County Public Health Information Line, (845) 513-2268, Option 1
  • Sullivan County Public Health Services at 845-292-5910, ext. 0.
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