COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – Florida has 14 confirmed cases of people with the Zika virus who officials say got it from mosquitoes, but South Carolina health officials say that’s no cause to change the state’s Zika response plans. All of the Florida cases that were spread by mosquito are in the Wynwood neighborhood in North Miami. Until these cases, officials say all of the U.S. Zika cases were in people who had traveled to affected countries or territories or had sex with someone who had.
“It doesn’t really change our plans,” says Dr. Linda Bell, South Carolina’s State Epidemiologist. “We will continue with the plans that we have in place to control mosquitoes, to prevent exposures through our educational efforts, to conduct disease surveillance to make sure that we detect cases, and make sure that any individuals who come here as travelers who are infected don’t infect the local mosquitoes here.”
• Pregnant women not travel to the identified area.
• Pregnant women and their partners living in this area should consistently follow steps to prevent mosquito bites and sexual transmission of Zika.
• Pregnant women who traveled to this area on or after June 15, 2016, should talk with their healthcare provider and should be tested for Zika.
• Pregnant women without symptoms of Zika who live in or frequently travel to this area should be tested for Zika virus infection in the first and second trimesters of pregnancy.
• Male and female sexual partners of pregnant women who live in or who have traveled to this area should consistently and correctly use condoms or other barriers against infection during sex or abstain from sex for the duration of the pregnancy.
• All pregnant women in the United States who live in or travel to an area with active Zika virus transmission, or who have sex with a partner who lives in or traveled to an area with active Zika virus transmission without using condoms or other barrier methods to prevent infection should be assessed for possible Zika virus exposure during each prenatal care visit and tested according to CDC guidance.
• Women and men who traveled to this area wait at least 8 weeks before trying for a pregnancy; men with symptoms of Zika wait at least 6 months before trying for a pregnancy.
• Women and men who live in or frequently travel to this area who do not have signs or symptoms consistent with Zika virus disease and are considering pregnancy should consider the risks associated with Zika virus infection, and may wish to consult their healthcare provider to help inform their decisions about timing of pregnancy.
• Anyone with possible exposure to Zika virus and symptoms of Zika should be tested for Zika.
CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said in a conference call Monday that one of the most troubling aspects of the Zika virus is that four out of five people who have it don’t have any symptoms, so they don’t realize they have it and therefore might not take the necessary precautions to keep it from spreading. The main one is wearing bug repellent to prevent mosquito bites, since the virus spreads by a mosquito biting someone who’s infected and then biting someone else.
The symptoms of Zika are: fever, rash, joint pain, Conjunctivitis (red eyes), muscle pain, and headache. The symptoms may last several days to a week.
While those symptoms are usually mild, the potential outcome for pregnant women is not. Zika has been linked to microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with much smaller than normal heads and brains.