Utah public health officials have received confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that a Utah resident has tested positive for the Zika virus. The patient, a child between the ages of two and 10 years, recently traveled to an affected country before returning to Utah. The child exhibited symptoms, including the typical rash, and has not experienced any complications.

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

“It isn’t surprising that Utah has an imported case of Zika virus since so many of our residents travel to and from areas where the disease is currently being transmitted,” said Dr. Allyn Nakashima, State Epidemiologist with the Utah Department of Health (UDOH). She adds, “Zika virus, with the possible link to the birth defect microcephaly, is understandably frightening.” Since there is no vaccine to prevent Zika virus, and no specific medical treatment for those who are infected, the UDOH urges all who may be considering travel to the growing number of affected countries to take the necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

In addition, The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has confirmed two Colorado cases of Zika in 2016. Both individuals had traveled to a Zika-affected country, and both have recovered. The cases were reported last week. Colorado is likely to have more cases of Zika in the coming year.

No other specifics were released on the cases.

Zika virus is transmitted to humans primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The mosquito that is spreading the virus in the affected countries isn’t currently found in Utah or Colorado.

A pregnant woman can pass Zika to her fetus or to her newborn near the time of birth. The disease also can be spread by a man to his sex partners. CDC is studying all the ways Zika may be spread.

Public health officials encourage pregnant women to postpone traveling to affected areas, if possible, or talk to their health care provider before considering travel.