Ohio reports second Zika virus case, local doctor says not to be - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Ohio reports second Zika virus case, local doctor says not to be alarmed

Second case of the Zika virus is reported in Ohio. (Source: AP) Second case of the Zika virus is reported in Ohio. (Source: AP)
(WTOL) -

Two cases of the Zika virus have been reported in Ohio. According to the Center of Disease Control, 35 cases have been reported in 12 states. The Buckeye State is the most recent to join that list. 

The Ohio Department of Health says a 30-year-old Cleveland woman and a 21-year-old Stark County man both have the disease. The ODH says they both recently returned from trips to Haiti, but reports that their cases are not linked. 

It's unknown exactly how and when they contracted the virus and what, if any, symptoms they have. But they are both confirmed cases. 

The Zika virus is primarily transmitted through a mosquito bite and 80 percent of the people infected do not have any symptoms. However, for those that do, symptoms could include rash, fever, joint pain and conjunctivitis, or red eyes. 

But before Ohioans start worrying, there are some things they should know. 

Dr. David Grossman says not to worry because mosquitoes aren't out in our area with it being winter, so the likelihood of it spreading is slim to none. 

Although there was one incident where it was transmitted sexually from an infected person to a non-infected person, tests and research are still being done into how it would've been transmitted. 

Dr. Grossman says your biggest risk is traveling to areas where mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus have been found. 

"If you go, all the precautions we've talked about with from West Nile virus and everything should be used. You should be wearing long-sleeve shirts, you should have netting, you should be putting on insect repellent and protecting your kids," he said. 

And while he says it shouldn't keep you from canceling your travel plans, if you're pregnant or trying to get pregnant he strongly discourages it. 

"I'll be honest with you, if I was getting pregnant or pregnant, I'm not sure I would travel to those areas right now, just because of that potential risk, which is severe and life-long," Grossman said. 

The risk he is referring to is pregnant women delivering children with microcephaly, or an under-developed head. 

He adds that there has been testing done to find a vaccine, but he is unaware of how far along researchers are with making progress on it. 

So for now the doctor says there is no cause for alarm, but if the virus is still present come the summer, we need to take precautions like we do with West Nile. 

"But I'm also saying, the other side of that coin is, when we do get through our mosquito season, I think a great deal of caution should be used," he said. "I think the mosquito prevention controls and the spraying, they do a great program, and here's another reason, come mosquito season that I like it. There's a whole group of people who hate the spraying and don't want their neighborhood to get on board, but again controlling mosquitoes will be controlling this disease."

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