HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Another travel-related case of Zika virus has made its way to South Mississippi.
The Mississippi State Department of Health reports one new travel-associated case of Zika virus in a resident of Harrison County who recently traveled to Puerto Rico. That brings the 2016 total number of Zika cases to 17 in Mississippi.
The first Zika case in Harrison County was reported on Aug. 1. Health department officials said a resident contracted the virus while visiting Honduras.
"So far in Mississippi, all of our Zika cases have been travel-related. It remains crucial that pregnant women not travel to countries where Zika is actively being transmitted," said MSDH Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers.
The MSDH suggests the following precautions to protect yourself and your environment from mosquito-borne illnesses:
· Use a mosquito repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient such as DEET while you are outdoors.
· Remove all sources of standing water around your home and yard to prevent mosquito breeding.
· Wear loose, light-colored, long clothing to cover the arms and legs when outdoors.
· Avoid areas where mosquitoes are prevalent.
Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that causes severe birth defects in a developing fetus – including brain damage, hearing and vision loss, and impaired growth – if the mother is infected during pregnancy. Zika virus infection can cause a mild illness with symptoms (fever, joint pain, conjunctivitis or rash) lasting for several days to a week, but 80 percent of those infected have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Death is very rare. The MSDH strongly advises pregnant women not to travel to countries where Zika is actively being transmitted.
Experts say the breed of mosquito that is spreading Zika – Aedes aegypti – has not been detected in Mississippi since the early 1990s. The MSDH is currently conducting surveillance for Aedes mosquito populations in every county in the state.