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Home News First Confirmed Case of Zika Virus Infection
Kenny Vigil
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First Confirmed Case of Zika Virus Infection

March 18, 2016 - Zoonotic Diseases - Disease

The New Mexico Department of Health announced today that a 46-year-old Bernalillo County man has tested positive for Zika virus infection. Testing was conducted at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Fort Collins, Colorado.  The man acquired the virus while traveling to Central America.

“We have anticipated that travel-related cases would be identified in New Mexico,” said Department of Health Deputy Secretary Lynn Gallagher. “We have been working closely with CDC to prepare for Zika cases in New Mexico.”

Zika virus infection causes no symptoms in four out of five people; however, in infected pregnant women the virus has been linked to birth defects including microcephaly and other poor birth outcomes. The CDC has special precautions for pregnant women or women thinking of becoming pregnant, recommending that they not travel to areas with ongoing Zika virus activity. The CDC has also issued travel warnings for anyone headed to these countries where there is active mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus. The list of affected countries can be found on the Zika Virus Travel Information page.

While the virus is mainly transmitted by mosquitos, it can also be transmitted through semen. CDC recommends men traveling to areas where virus is actively transmitted by mosquitoes to either abstain from having sex with a pregnant partner, or properly use a condom for the duration of the pregnancy.

To avoid Zika and other viruses like West Nile Virus, which are spread by mosquitos, take the following steps:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for children and pregnant or breast-feeding women.
    • Always follow the product label instructions
    • Reapply insect repellent as directed
    • Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing
    • If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent
  • If you have a baby or child:
    • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age (follow label instructions)
    • Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs, orCover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.
    • Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.
    • Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
  • Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items.
    • Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See product information to learn how long the protection will last.
    • If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.
    • Do NOT use permethrin products directly on skin. They are intended to treat clothing.

The CDC reports that as of March 16, there have been 258 cases of Zika virus infection reported in the United States.  Of those 258 travel-associated infections, 18 are in pregnant women and 6 were sexually transmitted.

For more information, please visit the Get Educated About Zika Virus and Zika Virus Information for Pregnant Women pages.

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Primer Caso Confirmado De Infección Por El Virus Zika