– The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Bureau for Public Health is reporting the state’s first case of Zika virus occurring in a pregnant woman, bringing the total of confirmed Zika virus cases in West Virginia to eight. All eight cases were contracted by travel to countries where the virus is active.
“The woman was confirmed to be positive for Zika virus following an international mission trip to an area where the disease is endemic,” said State Health Officer and Commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health Dr. Rahul Gupta. “The pregnancy will now be monitored by the Bureau for Public Health’s Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health through the U.S. Zika Pregnancy registry due to the increased risk of microcephaly and other potential birth defects.”
The Bureau for Public Health is not releasing additional information pertaining to this case to protect the privacy of the patient.
“During pregnancy, the Zika virus may be passed from the mother to her fetus,” said Gupta. “It is very important to remember to take mosquito bite precautions if traveling to areas where Zika virus transmission is occurring.”
CDC has issued guidance to men and women surrounding pregnancy precautions following a visit to countries where Zika virus is endemic. Upon return, women who want to become pregnant are encouraged to wait a minimum of 8 weeks, while men should consider using a condom from 8 weeks to 6 months. There have been no reports of local mosquito transmission of the disease in the United States at this time.
DHHR has launched a Zika webpage, zikawv.org, where residents can easily access Zika information, how to prevent the disease, and to help explain the risks of the virus to pregnant women and their unborn children. Gupta convened the West Virginia Zika Task Force, consisting of multiple state agencies in March 2016 to begin preparedness efforts relating to Zika virus. Many states across the country are in the process of filing action plans with CDC as local transmission of the disease is a possibility.
Zika virus cases in the U.S. have been linked to foreign travel. In about 80% of cases, the Zika virus causes no symptoms and in the rest, it causes only mild illness with symptoms lasting from a few days to a week. The most common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (pink eye).
To learn more about Zika virus or risks to pregnant women, please visit www.zikawv.org.