First travel-related case of Zika virus confirmed in North Carolina

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(Zika virus stock photo)

RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday the first travel-related case of the Zika virus in a North Carolina resident.

Officials said the adult had recently traveled to a country where the virus is spreading.

“As long as the outbreak continues in Central and South America and the Caribbean, we expect to see more travel-related Zika virus infections in our state,” Randall Williams, the state health director, said in a press release. “While travel-related cases don’t present a public health threat to North Carolina, we always actively monitor emerging global situations and adjust resources to meet needs.”

So far, no cases of the disease have been acquired in North Carolina or in the United States, except one case in Texas where the virus spread through sexual transmission.

“We want to take this opportunity to reinforce that travelers to any of the countries with active Zika transmission should follow precautions to minimize their exposure to mosquito bites,” said Megan Davies, the state epidemiologist.

The Zika virus is transmitted through bites from infectious mosquitos. Cases of transmission through sexual contact and blood transfusion have also been reported.

Symptoms can include can include rash, red eyes, fever and joint pain, although only about one in five will show symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a travel warning for women who are or are trying to get pregnant.