Two new Zika virus cases identified in Ohioans

Posted at 5:20 PM, Feb 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-12 17:20:13-05

Two new Zika virus cases in returning travelers were reported on Friday by the Ohio Department of Health. 

The ODH said this is Ohio's third and fourth cases of the virus in returning travelers, identified as a 56-year-old Butler County woman returning from Guyana and a 60-year-old Licking County man returning from Haiti. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported 52 travel-associated cases of the Zika virus in 16 states and the District of Columbia prior to Ohio's two new cases. On Tuesday, there were only 35 cases in 12 states.

According to the ODH, the Zika virus is primarily transmitted through a mosquito bite, and there is no indication that it can spread from person to person through casual contact. The CDC confirmed a U.S. case of Zika virus infection in a non-traveler after the person’s sexual partner returned from an affected country and developed symptoms. Due to the possible association between Zika virus infections in pregnant women and certain birth defects, the CDC recommended that pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant consider postponing travel to areas with Zika virus transmission.

ODH Medical Director Dr. Mary DiOrio said she is not surprised to see more cases of the Zika virus popping up in the state since there are a number of travelers between Ohio and Zika virus-affected countries. She said there is no vaccine available, which makes it important for Ohioans traveling to affected areas to take steps to prevent obtaining mosquito bites. 

Of people infected by the Zika virus, 80 percent of them do not have any symptoms, according to the ODH. When symptoms occur, they are often mild and last several days to a week. Symptoms can include a fever, rash, joint and muscle pain, red eyes, and headaches. 

For more information about the Zika virus, visit the ODH website.