Zika Virus Advisories Issued in Appalachian States
West Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina have issued advisories for the Zika virus, urging caution, particularly for pregnant women traveling to areas where the disease is circulating.
According to the Centers for Diease Control and Prevention, 35 cases of Zika virus have been confirmed in the continental United States, only two of which were in Appalachia. However, Zika virus is possibly linked to birth defects in babies born to mothers who contracted the disease while pregnant. Therefore, the CDC has urged caution for pregnant women from any state traveling to regions (such as Brazil and Central America) where the disease is known to originate.
Zika is primarily contracted through mosquito bites – pregnant women can pass the virus on to their fetus; it also can be transmitted from blood transfusions or through sexual contact.
There is no vaccine for Zika virus. However, 80 percent of those who contract the virus don't show symptoms, according to the Health Advisory from West Virginia’s Bureau for Public Health. Those with symptoms may experience fever, joint pain and a rash. Hospitalization and death due to Zika are rare.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Benedum Foundation.