Zika Virus Appears In The City

There are three reported cases in New York City


Three individuals with Zika virus have been identified in New York City, including one pregnant woman. All of the patients are adults who were infected while traveling in affected areas outside New York, and none are experiencing severe complications. The Zika virus cannot be spread by casual contact with an infected person.


Deputy Mayor Dr. Herminia Palacio and Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett talked with the news media about the steps the Health Department taking to protect New Yorkers against the Zika Virus.


They pointed out that mosquitoes are not active during cold weather months. So, at this time, no risk of acquiring Zika virus exists in New York City. The mosquito responsible for transmission in impacted areas in Latin America is the Aedes aegypti, which is a mosquito species not found in New York City.


“Though mosquitoes are not currently active in New York City, we have already started a comprehensive response to Zika virus,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio. “We want to ensure all New Yorkers traveling to warmer climates are taking preventive measures, and we are prepared as mosquito season approaches.”


“During the winter months many New Yorkers travel to areas of the globe where Zika Virus is currently circulating, and we strongly recommend that any pregnant women delay travel to the areas affected by the virus, and we urge any pregnant women returning from these areas to speak with their physician,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett.


Rep. Eliot Engel issued a statement saying that the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Zika virus should not spark a panic. “Domestic and international health experts are taking this issue seriously, and I’m committed to working in Congress to ensure that this outbreak is dealt with quickly and competently.”


Engel iterated his longstanding call for increased engagement with Latin America nations. “The United States must assist our neighbors as they continue to fight the Zika virus,” he added.


New Yorkers traveling to countries impacted by this disease are potentially at risk. Pregnant women should consider delaying travel to affected countries until more information is gathered. Pregnant women who have recently traveled to effected countries should consult with their doctor.


Zika is a virus spread to people through bites of infected mosquitoes. About 1 in 5 people who are infected do not become sick. For the people who become sick, the most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint paint and conjunctivitis (red eyes).  Symptoms begin two to 12 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms tend to be mild and last for a week. Most people fully recover and do not need to be hospitalized. However, several months following the outbreak of Zika in Brazil, a large increase in the number of babies born with a congenital birth defect called microcephaly was observed. Microcephaly describes a baby or child with a smaller than normal head.

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