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First Cases of Zika in Pennsylvania and Delaware

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On Tuesday, health officials from both Pennsylvania and Delaware confirmed the first cases of Zika virus in both states. Three women—two from Pa. and one from Del.—contracted the virus while traveling outside of the United States.

State officials have not made public any of the travelers’ residences or where they traveled when they contracted the virus.

The first outbreak of Zika virus occurred in Brazil last May and is most concerning for pregnant women, as it’s been known to cause birth defects in babies born to mothers who have contracted the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued travel notices to the affected regions, including Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Cape Verde and Pacific Islands, including Samoa. The CDC has recommended that pregnant women avoid traveling to these areas and should also take precautions for sexual contact with their partners who may be infected, until more is known about the transmission of the virus.

Zika is most commonly spread by infected mosquitos and symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, headaches and conjunctivitis, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Symptoms typically last for a few days to one week. It cannot be contracted through casual contact.

There is currently no vaccine and the health department recommends if traveling to affected regions using an insect repellent containing DEET, wearing light-colored clothing, using physical barriers such as screens or windows and sleeping under mosquito nets.

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health, Dr. Karen Murphy, said in a statement, “While we are concerned about the health of these individuals and any Pennsylvanian who may be exposed to Zika virus, we want to emphasize that these cases pose no threat to the public.”

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