The New Mexico Department of Health announced Friday that a 46-year-old Bernalillo County man has tested positive for Zika virus infection. Testing was conducted at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Fort Collins, Colorado. The man acquired the virus while traveling to Central America.
“We have anticipated that travel-related cases would be identified in New Mexico,” said Department of Health Deputy Secretary Lynn Gallagher. “This case serves as a reminder as we approach mosquito season in our state that everyone should take precautions to avoid mosquito-borne illnesses.”
Zika virus infection causes no symptoms in one out of five people; however, in infected pregnant women the virus has been linked to birth defects including microcephaly and other poor birth outcomes. The CDC has special precautions for pregnant women or women thinking of becoming pregnant, recommending that they not travel to areas with ongoing Zika virus activity. The CDC has also issued travel warnings for anyone headed to these countries where there is active mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus.
While the virus is mainly transmitted by mosquitos, it can also be transmitted through semen. CDC recommends men traveling to areas where virus is actively transmitted by mosquitoes to either abstain from having sex with a pregnant partner, or properly use a condom for the duration of the pregnancy.
The CDC reports that as of March 16, there have been 258 cases of Zika virus infection reported in the United States. Of those 258 travel-associated infections, 18 are in pregnant women and 6 were sexually transmitted.