The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) on Friday announced that the first case of Zika virus detected by the State Laboratory.

Image/National Atlas of the United States
Image/National Atlas of the United States

According to DPH, the patient, 60-69 years of age, travelled to a Zika-affected area and had onset of illness on the day of return in early March.  The patient’s illness was characterized by skin rash, conjunctivitis, fatigue, chills, headache, and muscle aches.  The patient has been seen by a physician and is recovering.

In January, Governor Malloy directed DPH to test for Zika virus.  The tests were conducted at the DPH Laboratory, which was approved for and began testing for Zika virus on February 29, 2016.  The steps the State took to deliver testing in the DPH Laboratory resulted in expedited results.

“We encourage those concerned about symptoms to consult their doctor, particularly if they have traveled to an affected area and particularly if they are pregnant. We have been actively taking steps for months to prepare for a positive case, including expedited testing and a coordinated response across agencies. While the risk of transmission is low, we are nevertheless no doubt continuing that preparation to the extent that we can,” Governor Malloy said.

“I would urge all residents to avoid travel to affected countries, and if they must, to be vigilant. As we have previously said, a confirmed case was never a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’. Because of the preparatory steps we’ve taken previously, we are able to test more quickly and in-state,” DPH Commissioner Raul Pino said. “With hundreds of positive cases nationwide, across 34 states, I encourage residents to be vigilant. We at the state level are monitoring this case – and preparing for any future cases – with the utmost diligence.”

To date, 258 cases of Zika have been reported in 34 states and the District of Columbia. Of those, 18 were pregnant women and another six were sexually transmitted.  In Connecticut, 198 samples have been received for testing, and 67 results have been received.  This result is the first positive test in Connecticut.