Doctor: Butler Co. at low risk for Zika outbreak

Posted at 5:39 PM, Feb 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-13 00:27:05-05

CINCINNATI – A 56-year-old Butler County woman has been diagnosed as the third Ohio resident with Zika virus, the Ohio Department of Health announced Friday.

But doctors are saying the threat of an outbreak in the area remains very low.

The unnamed woman was diagnosed upon her return from Guyana, officials said.

Additionally, the ODH announced that a 60-year-old Columbus-area man returning from Haiti was diagnosed as the state’s fourth case of the virus picked up by travelers. No one has acquired the virus in Ohio.

Dr. Justin Coomes, emergency department director at Mercy Fairfield, told WCPO Friday, "It's always important to be concerned and look at it closely, but is this the same thing as the ebola outbreak we had a year ago? No, it's not."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported 52 other cases of Zika virus in 16 states and the District of Columbia.

The virus is primarily transmitted through mosquito bites, according to ODH officials. It has been linked to some birth defects, and the CDC recommends that pregnant women and those seeking to become pregnant avoid traveling to areas where the virus is transmitted.

“Given the number of travelers between Ohio and Zika virus-affected countries, it would not be a surprise to see more cases,” said ODH Medical Director Dr. Mary DiOrio. “There is no vaccine available for Zika virus so it’s important for Ohioans traveling to affected areas to take steps to prevent mosquito bites.”

Eighty percent of those infected with Zika virus show no symptoms, ODH officials said. When symptoms do occur, they are often mild and can include fever, rash, joint and muscle pain, red eyes and headache.

Visit the ODH’s website for more information.