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First Case Of Zika Virus Detected In Rockland

The patient recently traveled to a South American country where Zika virus transmission has been documented.
The patient recently traveled to a South American country where Zika virus transmission has been documented. Photo Credit: File photo

ROCKLAND COUNTY -- Rockland County Executive Ed Day and Commissioner of Health Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert confirmed Rockland's first case of Zika virus in a local woman.

The patient recently traveled to a South American country where Zika virus transmission has been documented.

"Zika virus symptoms may include low-grade fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis," said Ruppert. "Symptoms typically begin two to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine or specific medicine to treat Zika virus infections. Pregnant women and mothers with newborn babies who have visited affected countries should consult with their health care providers."

It's the second reported case in the Hudson Valley, with the first reported last week in Orange County.

There is no reason to panic, according to Dr. Stuart Feinstein, Infectious Disease Specialist at Vasser Brothers Medical Center.

"A mosquito has to bite someone and we don't have mosquitoes like this here," said Feinstein. "I'm not worried about widespread transmission. I don't believe this will be a source of infection for us locally."

The Zika virus is primarily transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a travel advisory for affected countries in Central and South America, the Caribbean and Samoa and Cape Verde. The infection is associated with severe birth defects, including microcephaly (a condition in which a baby's head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age) and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant.

The Rockland County Health Department is preparing for additional cases resulting from travelers. At this time there is no risk of acquiring Zika virus in Rockland County. Travelers are encouraged to visit the CDC Travel website - cdc.gov - for the most up-to-date recommendations. Pregnant travelers encountering obstacles from airlines and cruise lines may seek assistance from the Rockland County Office of Consumer Affairs by calling (845) 708-7600.

With the number of reported cases on the rise, the New York State Department of Health's Wadsworth Center Laboratories in Albany will begin to provide free Zika virus testing for all pregnant women who traveled to an area with ongoing Zika virus transmission during pregnancy.

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