Maine CDC announced last week that a mature adult (age 65 or older) from Hancock County has tested positive for the Zika virus. The individual traveled to a Zika-affected country and experienced symptoms after returning home. Hospitalization was not required and recovery continues at home.
Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. Though less common, Zika can be transmitted through sexual contact from a male to his partner. The World Health Organization and U.S. CDC are investigating a potential link between Zika virus and an increase in microcephaly, a birth defect in which the size of a baby’s head is smaller than expected. This link is not well understood, and out of an abundance of caution Maine CDC is recommending that all pregnant women and men who are sexually active with a woman who is pregnant or trying to become pregnant who have traveled to a Zika-affected area be tested for the virus.
Only one in five people infected with Zika show symptoms, which include fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. Illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week.
U.S. CDC has issued travel alerts for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. The most recent guidance and guidelines are available at: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/whats-new.html
For more information, visit: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/epi/vector-borne/zika or http://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html