Case of Zika virus confirmed in Shelby County - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Case of Zika virus confirmed in Shelby County

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)

Shelby County received confirmation of its first case of the Zika virus.

"The Shelby County Health Department continues to work collaboratively with the Tennessee Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify cases and educate our community,” Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell said.

The health department said the person, who contracted Zika recently, traveled to one of the countries where Zika is prevalent.

The mosquito that can carry Zika will become more prevalent in Shelby County when the weather warms up for the summer. When that happens, Shelby County Health Department suggests all citizens take the appropriate precautions to reduce their risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.

"So as we move into mosquito season, that's the key message for today, is that we need to take precautions locally to assure we don't have environments to breed and then bite us," Shelby County Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter said. 

Except in pregnant women, Zika virus is almost always a very mild illness and for most people, testing is not necessary. Approximately 80 percent of those infected never show symptoms of the disease, while approximately 20 percent show only mild symptoms. There is no vaccine to prevent infection and no specific antiviral treatment for Zika virus infection. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes.

Pregnant women can be infected with Zika virus in any trimester, and there have been increased cases of microcephaly possibly associated with Zika virus infections. Microcephaly is a condition where the head is smaller than normal and may lead to a child experiencing a variety of other health challenges, including physical and speech functions, seizure, hyperactivity, coordination problems and other brain/neurological disorders. SCHD advises women who are pregnant or of childbearing age to especially understand the risk of contracting Zika virus disease.

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