The Southern Nevada Health District has received confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that a Clark County resident has tested positive for the Zika virus. The patient is an adult male who recently traveled to Guatemala.
“The Health District has been actively monitoring all developments related to the Zika virus and testing potential patients in accordance with CDC guidelines,” said Dr. Joe Iser, Chief Health Officer for the Southern Nevada Health District.
Zika virus is spread primarily though the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Additional symptoms can include muscle pain and headache. The virus is usually mild, and four out of five people infected will not know they have the disease. Patients usually don’t require hospitalization, and Zika rarely results in death.
“The Aedes species of mosquito has not currently been identified in Southern Nevada. However, the Health District’s Vector Control Program is equipped to trap and identify this specific species, as it has been found in neighboring states,” said Dr. Iser.
The Health District advises anyone who is concerned they may have been exposed to Zika virus, and who has traveled to an area where the virus is circulating, to consult with a health care provider. A Zika virus diagnosis is based on travel history, clinical signs and symptoms, and laboratory blood tests. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent Zika virus disease, and no specific treatment for the infection.
In addition to mosquito bites, Zika can be passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, and spread during sex from a man to his partners. Spread of the virus through blood transfusion has also been reported and is being investigated. The CDC continues to investigate a potential link to pregnant women who are infected with the virus and an increase in birth defects. The CDC is recommending special precautions for pregnant women, women who are trying to get pregnant, and their partners.
Guatemala has reported more than 1000 suspected and confirmed Zika virus cases since 2015.
Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has received reports on 273 cases from 36 states and Washington DC as of Wednesday. Of the 273 travel-associated infections, 19 are in pregnant women and 6 were sexually transmitted.