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Pregnant woman tests positive for Zika virus in Spokane County

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SPOKANE — Health officials say a woman in Spokane County tested positive for Zika virus. She was pregnant at the time she showed symptoms, but has since given birth. The child tested negative for the virus.

According to the Spokane County Regional Health District, the woman is in her 20s and was in an area where Zika transmission is happening.

They said her baby shows no signs of health problems related to the virus.

“Although we can be thankful that mom is symptom-free at this point, and that her baby appears unaffected at this time, this serves as a timely reminder for anyone considering traveling to countries where the virus is circulating to be aware of the risks, and for pregnant women to delay their travel if possible,” said Dr. Joel McCullough, SRHD interim health officer.

Health officials say Zika virus can be spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus. The risk factors are still being studied, including microcephaly (abnormally small heads) in infants, and miscarriage.

This is the second confirmed case of Zika virus in Washington. The first was a Mason County man who recently traveled to a Zika infected area.

Here’s more info from the SRHD:

“As knowledge of the link between Zika and birth defects evolves, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women. In any trimester, they should consider postponing travel to areas where Zika virus is spreading. If a pregnant woman must travel to one of these areas, she is encouraged to talk to her health care provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip.

To date, 107 travel-associated Zika virus cases have been reported nationally. The specific mosquito species known to transmit the virus is not found in northern states, nor are there any confirmed cases of non-travel acquired, mosquito-borne cases in the U.S.
Nearly 80 percent of people infected with the virus will have no symptoms. Most others typically have mild symptoms, such as fever, joint soreness, rash or red eyes. There are no vaccines or treatment for Zika virus.

Only pregnant women or individuals planning a pregnancy are encouraged to delay their travel if possible. Otherwise, health officials urge anyone considering travel to countries where the virus is circulating to be aware of the need to protect themselves and others from mosquito bites. Individuals returning to the U.S. from Zika-affected areas who are pregnant or having symptoms of Zika illness should contact their health care provider. Men returning from an area with Zika who have a pregnant partner, or who have a partner whose pregnancy status may not yet be known, should use a condom during sex or not have sex during pregnancy.

Zika virus has been found for years in parts of Asia and Africa. It then migrated into the Western Hemisphere in May 2015, and the virus has now spread throughout tropical areas of Central and South America and many countries in the Caribbean.”