State and county health officials announced Monday a confirmed Zika virus infection in a U.S. citizen diagnosed in Spokane County, Washington.
The individual is female, in her 20s, and was in an area where Zika transmission is happening. The woman was pregnant at the time she had symptoms of Zika virus infection. She delivered her baby and the child tested negative for Zika virus. The baby shows no signs of the health problems linked to Zika virus infection.
“Although we can be thankful that mom is symptom-free at this point, and that her baby appears unaffected at this time, this serves as a timely reminder for anyone considering traveling to countries where the virus is circulating to be aware of the risks, and for pregnant women to delay their travel if possible,” said Dr. Joel McCullough, SRHD interim health officer.
Zika virus can be spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus. The risk factors and frequency for adverse health effects to the baby are still being studied, including microcephaly (abnormally small heads) in infants, and miscarriage. CDC experts still do not know if there is a link between Zika virus and Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare immune disorder that most people recover from.
This is the second confirmed case of Zika virus infection in a returning traveler to Washington state. The first was in a Mason County, Washington male who recently traveled to a Zika affected area. The Spokane woman was tested based on CDC guidance that all pregnant women who traveled to a place with a Zika outbreak during pregnancy receive antibody testing for the virus.