A person living in Nassau County is among three people statewide who have tested positive for the mosquito-borne Zika virus that has officials in Latin American countries warning of potential birth defects.
The person who contracted the virus has recently traveled to an area outside the United States where there is confirmed transmission of the virus, according to Mary Ellen Lorraine, a spokeswoman for Nassau County Department of Health.
The unidentified resident contracted the virus in August, she told the Press. Lorraine was unable to provide details of the person’s sex, age or town of residence. She did say, however, that the person is not pregnant.
One patient has fully recovered and the two others are recovering without any complications, state health officials said.
The virus is not contagious and cannot be transmitted by coming into physical contact with another human, said health officials. Zika virus is primarily contracted from an infected Aedes mosquito. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.
State health officials urged residents who are considering traveling to Central and South American countries where the virus is prevalent to check all health advisories and take preventive measures.
“There is virtually no risk of acquiring Zika virus in New York State at this time as the virus cannot be spread by casual contact with an infected person, and mosquitoes are not active in cold winter months,” said state Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker.
The CDC says about two-dozen countries are grappling with the virus. The agency also issued a travel alert for people heading to nearly all the countries where the virus is being transmitted.
Officials overseas have turned to drastic measures to try and prevent birth defects in children. In El Salvador, the government has advised women to halt any pregnancies until 2018. Brazil is calling upon its military to help eradicate the mosquitoes.
The impact to unborn babies could lead to lifelong complications. Among the birth defects that have been reported is microcephaly, a condition in which a baby’s head fails to grow at a normal pace, according to the CDC.
Pregnant woman are advised to postpone travel or to follow strict preventive steps if traveling is a must. Women considering pregnancy should speak with their doctor about the risks posed by the Zika virus, the CDC advised.
Previous outbreaks of the virus have been reported in such tropical areas as Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands.
“Zika virus will likely continue to spread to new areas,” the CDC warned.
Health officials said only one in five people who are infected actually fall ill. The symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, red eyes, muscle pain, and headaches. The incubation period is believed to last anywhere from a few days to a week.
There are no known vaccines to treat or prevent the virus.
LIST OF COUNTRIES WITH ACTIVE ZIKA VIRUS TRANSMISSIONS
U.S. Virgin Islands