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First case of Zika virus in Utah confirmed, officials say

By Andreas Rivera, Standard-Examiner Staff - | Mar 1, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah health officials confirmed the first case of the Zika virus has been identified in Utah.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed Tuesday, March 1, that a Utah resident tested positive for the Zika virus, according to a press release from the Utah Department of Health. The patient is a child between the ages of two and 10 years old and recently traveled to a country that is affected by the virus.

The patient has experienced some symptoms including the typical rash, but has not experienced any complications, according to the release.

“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,” Dr. Allyn Nakashima, State Epidemiologist with the Utah Department of Health said in the release. “Zika virus, with the possible link to the birth defect microcephaly, is understandably frightening.”

According to the release, the Zika virus is a disease transmitted to humans most commonly by mosquito bites. The carrier of the virus is the Aedes species of mosquito which is not located in Utah.  The virus generally causes fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes.

Doctors say it causes a mild illness in adults with only 20 percent infected showing mild symptoms, but they caution pregnant woman from being exposed to the virus due to the risks of birth defects, according to the press release.  

CDC

A map of the countries in the Americas affected by the spread of the Zika virus. Health officials warn travelers to these areas to take precautions.

There is no vaccine or medical treatment so officials warn individuals to be cautious when traveling to areas where the virus is known to spread. The CDC reported as of Feb. 24 there have been 107 cases of the Zika virus reported in the U.S., all of which were related to travel.

The CDC reports there are 31 countries and regions, centered mostly in Central America and South America. The U.S. territory Puerto Rico has also been affected  A full list of affected areas and more information about the virus can be found on the CDC’s website.

Contact reporter Andreas Rivera at 801-625-4227 or arivera@standard.net. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter at @SE_Andreas.

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