Pregnant Woman Among 3 Zika Cases Confirmed in DC

A pregnant woman is one of the three confirmed cases of the Zika virus in the District of Columbia, according to the Department of Health.

Each individual who contracted the virus traveled outside the United States, officials said. One patient who caught the virus in 2015 had visited South America.

In the two cases stemming from 2016, including the pregnant woman, one traveled to South America and another traveled to Central America, according to health officials.

“The DC Department of Health (DOH) is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to monitor and track Zika virus infections in DC residents," a statement from DOH read. "It is important for residents to remember that there is no immediate threat to their health and well-being if they have not traveled to the known affected areas. However, we must all stay well informed and be cautious when traveling internationally. DOH has created a webpage that will be regularly updated, with a fact sheet on the Zika Virus and other key information to ensure that all DC residents are engaged and informed.”

Zika is transmitted from infected mosquitoes to people and from pregnant mothers to babies. The virus usually causes a mild illness, but babies born to mothers with the virus can have microcephaly, a condition associated with small, undeveloped brains. 

While the virus is not spread by casual human contact, health officials now say it could be sexually transmitted. Officials in Texas believe Zika may have been transmitted from a patient who contracted the virus abroad to a sexual partner.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now cautioning women to abstain from sex or use condoms if their male sexual partner has visited the affected countries. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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