Ohio and Indiana confirm Zika virus cases

Posted at 10:37 AM, Feb 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-09 18:52:30-05

CLEVELAND -- Ohio and Indiana both confirmed their first cases of the Zika virus on Tuesday, according the the states' respective departments of health.

Ohio's first confirmed case was contracted by a 30-year-old woman from Cleveland who recently traveled to Haiti, according the the Ohio Department of Health. Later in the day,  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified Ohio health officials of a second case of Zika virus, in a 21-year-old Stark County man also returning from Haiti. The two cases are not connected, according to state health officials.

"Zika virus is primarily transmitted through a mosquito bite, and there is no indication that it can spread from person to person through casual contact," the Ohio Department of Health said in a press release. "CDC has confirmed a U.S. case of Zika virus infection in a non-traveler after the person’s sexual partner returned from an affected country and developed symptoms.

"Of people infected with the Zika virus, 80 percent do not have any symptoms. When symptoms occur, they are often mild, lasting from several days to a week, and include fever, rash, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis (red eyes), and headache. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. Due to the possible association between Zika virus infections in pregnant women and certain birth defects, CDC recommends that pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant consider postponing travel to areas with Zika virus transmission.

"To prevent potential transmission through sexual contact, CDC recommends men with a pregnant sex partner abstain from sexual activity or consistently and correctly use condoms during sex for the duration of the pregnancy. CDC also recommends that pregnant women without symptoms of Zika virus disease be offered testing 2 to 12 weeks after returning from areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission."

The Indiana Department of Health also confirmed a case of the Zika virus, reportedly contracted by a non-pregnant resident who recently visited Haiti, according to WCPO sister station RTV6 in Indianapolis.

“The risk of contracting Zika virus here in Indiana remains low, but we know that many residents are concerned,” Jerome Adams, Indiana's state health commissioner, told RTV6. “We urge anyone visiting affected areas to take steps to avoid mosquito bites.”

An additional 10 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have also confirmed cases of the virus.

Ohio plans to hold a "Zika virus tabletop exercise to ensure Ohio’s preparedness at the local and state levels prior to the 2016 mosquito season that runs from May to October.”

In a press release, Indiana Governor Mike Pence said "Hoosiers can be assured that the Department of Health is working diligently to study the latest information on the Zika virus and will be proactively keeping Hoosiers informed in the weeks and months ahead.”