INDIANAPOLIS - The first confirmed case of Zika virus has been detected in an Indiana resident.
Indiana Health officials say the patient, who is not pregnant, had recently traveled to Haiti. The unidentified resident suffered from a mild illness that did not require hospitalization, and they’ve since made a full recovery. Indiana State Department of Health Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Brown says most people who get Zika virus won’t even know it.
"Eighty percent of people who are infected with this virus won’t develop any symptoms at all," Brown said at a press conference Tuesday. "About one-in-five infected persons will develop a typically mild illness the usual symptoms are fever, rash, conjunctivitis or joint pain."
Brown says severe complications are extremely rare. The main concern is the risk for unborn babies who may develop severe birth defects if a pregnant mother contracts the virus. That’s why the CDC is recommending pregnant woman avoid travel to areas experiencing an outbreak including Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America. Other travelers are encouraged to take precautions against being bit.
"These might include wearing long sleeves or long pants, it might include staying indoors in air-conditioned or screened rooms," explained Brown.
She also advises the use of repellent for skin and clothes. Men whose partners are pregnant are advised to take extra precautions because a small number of documented cases have been transmitted sexually.
Brown considers the risk of an outbreak in Indiana unlikely, the most common mosquito that carries the virus isn't found in Indiana. So far, the CDC has reported 35 cases of Zika virus in the United States, all of those travel related.