Rankin Co. resident diagnosed with Zika virus - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

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Rankin Co. resident diagnosed with Zika virus

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Another Mississippian has been diagnosed with the Zika virus after having traveled to Central America.

The Mississippi State Department of Health says the new case of Zika virus was diagnosed in a Rankin County resident who recently traveled to Guatemala. This brings the 2016 total to nine in Mississippi.

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that causes severe birth defects in a developing fetus – including brain damage, hearing and vision loss, and impaired growth – if the mother is infected during pregnancy. 

Zika virus infection can cause a mild illness with symptoms (fever, joint pain, conjunctivitis or rash) lasting for several days to a week, but 80 percent of those infected have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Death is very rare.

The MSDH strongly advises pregnant women not to travel to countries where Zika is actively being transmitted.

“It’s important to remember that all nine of our cases that have been reported in Mississippi are travel-related,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “It is crucial that pregnant women not travel to countries where Zika is actively being transmitted.”

Zika has been seen in parts of Africa, Southeast Asia, and some Pacific islands for years, but has recently been reported in approximately 30 countries, mostly in the Caribbean, Central and South America. The breed of mosquito that is spreading Zika – Aedes aegypti – has not been detected in Mississippi since the early 1990s.

The MSDH is currently conducting surveillance for Aedes mosquito populations in every county in the state. 

The MSDH suggests the following precautions to protect yourself and your environment from mosquito-borne illnesses:

  • Use an EPA-registered mosquito repellent that contains DEET while you are outdoors.
  • Remove all sources of standing water around your home and yard to prevent mosquito breeding.
  • Wear loose, light-colored, long clothing to cover the arms and legs when outdoors.
  • Avoid areas where mosquitoes are prevalent.

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