New Cases of Zika in Appalachian States
While West Virginia continues to be free of the Zika virus, the Appalachian states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Alabama and Georgia have all reported cases. The virus is spread through mosquitoes and was first dectected in South America.
Because of the spread of the virus to neighboring states, West Virginia Commissioner of Public Health Rahul Gupta says the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has alerted healthcare providers, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities to be aware of and prepared for the possibility of the virus appearing in West Virginia.
The majority of people with Zika are asymptomatic. In others, symptoms are mild, but include fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes.
Gupta stresses, though, that pregnant women should consider postponing travel to areas where the Zika virus is rapidly spreading due to the possible association between the virus and birth defects.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Benedum Foundation.