FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – A woman who is pregnant is the third Kentucky resident who has tested positive for Zika virus disease after traveling to an affected area where the virus is circulating, according to the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH.) Test results were reported to DPH by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has been tracking cases across the United States.
The patient is from the Louisville area. She experienced Zika-related symptoms after traveling to Central America in recent months and has recovered from the illness.
Increasing scientific evidence suggests a link between infection in pregnant women and infants born with birth defects such as microcephaly. Microcephaly is a condition where the head is smaller than normal and may lead to a child experiencing a variety of other health challenges including physical and speech functions, seizure, hyperactivity, coordination problems and other brain/neurological disorders.
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent infection and no specific antiviral treatment for Zika infection. Its most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes, although many infected individuals have no symptoms at all.
The virus is not now known to be circulating in the mosquito population in Kentucky.
Kentuckians planning international travel are particularly encouraged to consult the CDC’s Travelers’ Health Website, http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/, for country-specific health information for travelers. A weblink about Zika Travel Information, http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-travel-information, is found on that site.
International travelers to at-risk countries who develop fever, rash and other acute symptoms within two weeks of return to Kentucky should consult with their medical provider.
Additional facts and information specifically related to Zika virus can be found online at: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html.