Health commissioner announces Cincinnati's first official case of Zika virus

Health commissioner announces Cincinnati's first official case of Zika virus
Posted at 4:18 PM, Jul 01, 2016

CINCINNATI — Health officials announced Friday that the city of Cincinnati has seen its first official, recorded case of the Zika virus.

Interim Health Commissioner Dr. O’dell Owens announced the case during a news conference Friday afternoon, where he said an area man in his 50s returned from a trip to the Caribbean, where he contracted the virus.

Owens said the city will set 10 traps throughout the city that are specifically designed to entrap mosquitoes carrying the virus.

Owens did not indicate how the individual contracted the virus, which can be transmitted through either sexual contact or by an infected mosquito’s bite.

Mosquito transmission is the primary cause of the virus’ spread.

Owens’ announcement came less than a week after Northern Kentucky health officials announced the region’s first case, also presumed to have been contracted by a local man while traveling abroad.

Friday’s case marks Ohio’s 21st instance of the virus, Owens said. The first case of Zika transmitted by sex in Ohio was reported last week last week.

About one in five people infected with the virus will get sick, and the illness is usually mild.

Risks are more significant for pregnant women. There have been reports of the virus causing microcephaly, a serious birth defect of the brain in which the baby’s head is smaller than expected. The birth defect also causes other brain abnormalities.

Owens recommended that pregnant women do not travel to Rio de Janeiro, and advised men who travel to that region wear a condom during all sexual encounters for the next six months on arrival. The virus can be transmitted sexually for as long as 60 days following contact.

Click here for more information and additional resources for pregnant women and travelers.

WCPO photographer Terry Helmer contributed to this report.