First travel-related Zika infection identified in Fayette Co.

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The first instance of laboratory-confirmed infection with Zika virus in Lexington was recently identified in a Fayette County infant born to a woman who had traveled during pregnancy to an area where the virus is circulating.

Test results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that the infant was exposed to the virus in the womb.  Neither mother nor child is presently capable of spreading the virus to others or to mosquitoes in the area.

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Although the primary means of transmission of Zika is through the bite of an infected mosquito, the virus can also be spread by sexual contact and can be passed from mother to baby. Zika infection during pregnancy may cause microcephaly, or small head size, in addition to other brain and neurodevelopmental birth defects, even though infection may not cause any visible symptoms in the mother. The Fayette County infant does not have obvious physical abnormalities, but close follow–up and testing per CDC guidelines is recommended.

“The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department strongly advises pregnant women or women planning to become pregnant in the near future to consider cancelling or delaying travel to Zika-affected areas of the world,” said Dr. Kraig Humbaugh, Commissioner of Health. However, “anyone planning to travel to countries where the Zika virus is circulating among mosquitoes should take steps to protect themselves. This includes being knowledgeable about where the virus is spreading, consulting with a healthcare provider, and most importantly, following public health’s recommendations to avoid mosquito bites.”

Tips to protect against mosquito bites from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/index.html