Health officials in Allegheny County in Western Pennsylvania are reporting a laboratory-acquired Zika virus infection, which health officials are calling “unique”.
The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) says the patient is a female who contracted the virus from a needle stick while working with the Zika virus on an experiment in a laboratory. Her symptoms have resolved and she is doing well.
This is the fourth case of Zika virus infection reported in Allegheny County
“We want to remind residents that, despite this rare incident, there is still no current risk of contracting Zika from mosquitos in Allegheny County. For those traveling to countries affected by Zika, we urge caution. Pregnant women particularly should avoid travel to affected countries.” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department.”
The Zika virus is primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, which is common in warm climates. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week, although the majority of persons infected with the virus do not have any symptoms. Zika virus infection has been linked to fetal malformations. There is no vaccine to prevent, or medicine to treat, Zika virus infection.
While local mosquito transmission of Zika has not been documented in Allegheny County or Pennsylvania, residents are still urged to protect themselves from insect borne infections as the weather gets warmer. Insect repellant containing DEET should be used, and removing standing water from property can also help to alleviate mosquito breeding.