The Washington State Department of Health said Monday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that a Mason County man in his 20s, who visited a Thurston County hospital, is the first person in the state to test positive for Zika virus. The man had recently traveled to the South Pacific.
“Because many people travel to and from places where Zika is spreading, we’ve been expecting to have imported cases of Zika virus disease,” said Dr. Scott Lindquist, State Epidemiologist for Communicable Diseases for the Department of Health. “While the Zika virus is of greatest risk to pregnant women, it is understandably concerning to many of us. The good news is this virus spreads through the bite of a type of mosquito we don’t have in Washington state, so it is very unlikely that this virus would spread widely here.”
Lindquist added it appears the sickened man returned to the United States about a month ago.
There is no vaccine to prevent Zika virus disease and no specific medical treatment for people who are infected. Heath officials urge anyone considering traveling to countries where the virus is circulating to be aware of the need to protect themselves and others from mosquito bites.
Pregnant women are encouraged to delay their travel, if possible, and to take mosquito bite prevention very seriously if they must travel to an area where mosquito-borne diseases are circulating. The mosquitoes that transmit Zika virus are daytime biters, so it is important to apply prevention measures throughout the day as well as during the evening hours.