A case of Zika virus infection has been confirmed in a woman in her 20s in Spokane County who was pregnant when she developed symptoms after traveling, but has since delivered a healthy baby, health officials reported Monday.
A case of Zika virus infection has been confirmed in a woman in Spokane County who was pregnant when she developed symptoms but later delivered a healthy baby, health officials said Monday.
The woman, in her 20s, is a U.S. citizen who had traveled to an area with active Zika virus transmission. She was visiting Spokane when she was diagnosed with the virus, according to an update from county health officials.
The woman developed Zika symptoms in late pregnancy, state health officials said. But the child tested negative for the virus, according to Dr. Joel McCullough, interim health officer for the Spokane Regional Health District.
The woman was diagnosed based on guidance that all pregnant women who have traveled to a place where Zika is spreading should be tested for antibodies to the virus.
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Health officials released no information about where the woman lives, where she traveled or how long she was in a Zika-affected area.
The woman is the second travel-associated Zika virus infection confirmed in Washington state, but her case raised worries because of a strongly suspected link between the virus and a severe birth defect known as microcephaly. A Mason County man in his 20s who traveled to the South Pacific was the first confirmed case in the state.
Zika virus infections have been confirmed in nine pregnant women in the U.S., including one who gave birth to a baby with severe microcephaly, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said last week.
CDC officials also said they were investigating 10 additional reports of pregnant travelers with Zika, but the Washington state case is not included in that count, said Dr. Scott Lindquist, the state epidemiologist for communicable disease.
Overall, 107 U.S. travelers have been confirmed to have Zika virus infections, the CDC reported.
An epidemic of Zika virus has spread through Latin America and the Caribbean since last fall. The virus is mostly spread through the bite of infected mosquitoes, but the CDC is investigating 14 new cases of sexual transmission of Zika virus in the U.S. in which women had sex with men who were infected during travel.
Since August, the CDC has tested 257 pregnant women for Zika, the agency said. Three of the women delivered babies, including one with microcephaly. Health officials in Hawaii had previously reported that a woman who had lived in Brazil gave birth to a baby with microcephaly.
Two of the women had miscarriages and two women had abortions, the CDC reported. Two of the pregnancies are continuing.
The nine women with confirmed Zika infections had been to places where Zika is spreading, including America Samoa, Brail, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Samoa.
Those are among 30 sites now included in a CDC travel alert for Zika virus transmission.
The link between Zika virus and microcephaly has not been confirmed, but health officials said the concern is strong enough to encourage people to take measures to protect fetuses. Men infected with Zika virus are urged to wear condoms or avoid sex if their partners are pregnant, the CDC said.
On Friday, the agency urged pregnant women to avoid going to the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil in August because of concerns about the virus.
The health agency has also urged pregnant women or those hoping to become pregnant to avoid Zika-endemic areas in general. Travelers to those areas are urged to use insect repellent and wear protective clothing to prevent insect bites.
There is also concern that Zika virus could be linked to cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that can cause paralysis.
Zika virus is spread primarily by the Aedes species of mosquitoes. Those types of mosquitoes haven’t been detected in Washington state, so the risk of local Zika virus transmission is low, health officials said.
The most common symptoms of Zika virus infection are fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes, although 80 percent of people infected never show any sign, health officials said.