MSDH reports state’s first Zika virus case

MSDH reports state’s first Zika virus case

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - It appears the Zika virus has finally made its way into the Magnolia State. The Mississippi State Department of Health reports a Madison County resident who recently traveled to Haiti has the mosquito-borne virus.

The virus can cause devastating birth defects if contracted during pregnancy, and there are no treatments or vaccines for the virus.

Symptoms can include fever, joint pain, pink eye and rashes that can last several days to a week, but MSDH officials said 80 percent of people infected show no symptoms at all and death is very rare.

"The MSDH is working with medical partners across the state to ensure that the most current national guidelines for preventing and testing for Zika are being followed," said state epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs. "The MSDH Public Health Laboratory now has  the ability to test for Zika in-house to allow for rapid turnaround and high volume testing should the need arise."

The MSDH advises pregnant women against traveling to countries with Zika transmission. Health officials also said pregnant women should avoid sexual contact or only have protected sex with any man who has recently traveled to a country with Zika transmission.

"Pregnant women should avoid travel to these countries," Dobbs. "At this time, the mosquito spreading Zika in Mexico, South America and the Caribbean is not known to be present in Mississippi."

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