Local Health Officials Explain how to Avoid the Zika Virus

Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) – State Department Officials confirmed the first recorded case of the Zika virus in East Tennessee just days ago. According to the department, the person had just recently traveled to South America, where they must have contracted the virus.

“We’re not surprised to see cases in Tennessee, or Alabama anywhere,” said Bev Fulbright, R.N. the epidemiology dept. manager for the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department, “People were traveling to these countries where it’s very prevalent, and we expected to see people return with the virus.”

Zika is mosquito-borne and is harmless for most people, but can have dangerous affects on pregnant women. “At this time until more is known about the current situation, we ,just as a precaution, recommend that they postpone travel to Zika affected countries.” said Fulbright, “They can experience poor birth outcomes, perhaps miscarriages, there’s perhaps links to Microcephaly.”

According to the CDC, only 1 in 5 people infected with Zika will even get sick, and for those who do get sick  the illness is usually mild. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain or red eyes. And because the virus is spread mostly through mosquitoes, trying not to get bitten is the best way to avoid the virus.

“In sect repellent is a good way, long pants, long sleeves when you can.” said Fulbright, “We recommend that anyone who is traveling to any of the Zika affected countries, come to our travel clinics for recommended vaccines and for comprehensive travel information.”

A list of Zika affected countries can be found by clicking, here.

Categories: Chattanooga, Education, Hamilton County, Health, Local News

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