According to a news release, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has confirmed a case of Zika virus in a pregnant woman who had traveled to Nicaragua, which is a known area of Zika transmission. This is the fourth confirmed case of Zika virus reported in a Missouri resident.
Around 80 percent of people infected with the Zika virus will experience no symptoms. Symptoms are typically mild and include fever, rash, joint soreness and/or redness of the eyes.
The connection between pregnant women contracting the virus and a birth defect called microcephaly in their newborn babies is being examined by international health officials. According to the CDC, babies with microcephaly often have smaller head sizes and brains that might not have developed properly.
Zika virus, according to the CDC, has the potential to be spread through a mosquito bite, unprotected sexual contact, through blood transfusions, and a pregnant woman can pass Zika along to her fetus during pregnancy.
There is currently not a vaccine for Zika virus. The best prevention method is to avoid mosquito bites in areas with ongoing transmission. In Missouri, there have been no reported cases of Zika from a mosquito bite.
Mosquito bites while outdoors can be avoided by wearing EPA-registered insect repellent with DEET, wearing pants and long sleeves, or remaining indoors in an air-conditioned environment.
The CDC recommends that pregnant women avoid traveling to Zika affected areas, including countries ranging from Mexico into the Caribbean, Central America and South America.
Since the first of the year, DHHS has regularly updated health care providers and the public about Zika virus, in addition to coordinating the approval of Missourians for testing.
Please consult CDC resources for a listing of all areas and other information about Zika virus: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/