CT health officials urge travelers to avoid Zika-affected areas - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

CT health officials urge travelers to avoid Zika-affected areas

Gov. Dannel Malloy discusses the Zika virus in Connecticut. (WFSB) Gov. Dannel Malloy discusses the Zika virus in Connecticut. (WFSB)
The state Department of Public Health issued a warning on Friday on the Zika virus. (WFSB) The state Department of Public Health issued a warning on Friday on the Zika virus. (WFSB)
Malloy held a news conference after a another person in the state tested positive for the Zika virus (WFSB) Malloy held a news conference after a another person in the state tested positive for the Zika virus (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The state Department of Public Health and the governor are urging travelers to avoid areas affected by the Zika virus.

The DPH said with Zika affecting 1 in 5 Puerto Ricans, it also warned travelers to take precautions.

“With no vaccine or antiviral drug currently available to prevent infection or protect a developing fetus, it is imperative that women in any trimester of pregnancy, women who are planning to become pregnant and their male sexual partner follow recommendations for prevention,” said Dr. Raul Pino, DPH commissioner.  “Women who are pregnant should not travel to areas with Zika."

Pino said if women must travel to one of the affected areas, they should talk to their healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip.

"With hundreds of positive cases nationwide, I encourage residents to be vigilant," Pino said. "We at the state level are monitoring the situation with the utmost diligence.”

The DPH said Zika is primarily spread through mosquito bites, though it can also spread from men to women through sexual transmission. While the illness is generally mild, there is a possible link with birth defects and miscarriages.

"It's a tropical species that does not occur up in the northeast and the risk of that mosquito making it up here is virtually zero," Dr. Theodore Andreadis with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, said. 

But, there is the Asian Tiger Mosquito that has the potential of carrying the virus. It is found along the coastal areas of New Haven and Fairfield counties.

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station tests mosquitoes and will be trapping them this summer. 

"We have special traps that are designed to collect that species," Andreadis said. 

Gov. Dannel Malloy held a news conference on Friday morning after a another person in the state tested positive for the Zika virus. 

"We are urging everyone to take basic common sense precautions to protect themselves and those around them," Malloy said. 

While speaking at the Hispanic Health Council at 175 Main St. in Hartford, the governor said he knew people are looking to get away, but had a stern warning for travelers. 

"We will see more cases here in Connecticut as the summer travel season ramps up and it's essential for people to take precautions when traveling to regions that are impacted by the virus," Malloy said. 

The conference came on the heels of a fourth positive test.

Department of Public Health officials said a non-pregnant woman in her 30s tested positive. She traveled from the Caribbean to Connecticut on April 25 and became ill on April 29.

Officials said her symptoms included a fever, a rash and conjunctivitis.

To date, officials said 426 cases of travel-related Zika have been reported in the continental United States. Of those, 36 were pregnant women and eight were sexually transmitted. People living in 43 states and 3 United States territories have come down with the Zika virus. 

In Connecticut, 245 patients, including 217 pregnant women, have been tested for Zika virus.  

A vaccine won't be able for the next two years. If a person is heading down in area where Zika virus has been found, travelers should use bug spray, wear long pants and long sleeve shirts. They should also get rid of standing water around their homes. 

For mobile device users, click here to see an interactive map of all the cases of Zika in the U.S. and its territories. 

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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