Thousands Returning To U.S. May Have Contacted Zika Virus

Warning from heath officials: “Just one bite may harm your baby, if you’re pregnant.” 

Federal health officials from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention say they believe “thousands” of people who traveled outside the country may have already contacted the Zika virus and brought it back with them to the U.S.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the Zika virus remains “pretty concerning” for experts as they learn how it affects pregnant women.  All it takes is one bite from an infected mosquito to cause serious harm and birth defects.

Common symptoms of Zika infection include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis.  Approximately 1 in 5 people infected with the virus shows symptoms. Severe complications from Zika infection that require hospitalization are rare, according to the CDC.

Zika 2 baby deformity

The virus has been linked to the serious birth defect microcephaly, which is characterized by a malformed or smaller head and brain and can result in serious developmental delays.

About 500 people in the U.S. have been found to be infected, but the CDC says 80 percent of people infected do not show symptoms and are unaware they have it, so they are estimating there are literally thousands who could potentially start a local outbreak of the virus in America.

Especially concerning is that mosquito control has diminished recently, and the species that spreads the zika virus is hard to kill.


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