ARKANSAS (KFSM) — The Arkansas Department of Health confirmed Tuesday (April 26) that two new cases of Zika virus have been found in Arkansas residents.
Although specific details about the patients cannot be released, an ADH representative said that the two new cases came when people traveled out of the country. One of the patients went to the Central/South America region, and the other traveled to the Pacific Island region.
Zika virus is a relatively new disease for the Western hemisphere. It first appeared in Brazil in May of 2015 and has since spread to 20 countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean. The virus is spread through mosquito bites.
According to the CDC, the most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain and red, itchy eyes. Symptoms are usually mild and last several days to a week. Many people who have Zika will not experience symptoms. Currently there is no vaccine or treatment for Zika.
Pregnant women are most at risk for complications due to the Zika virus, because it’s been associated with serious birth defects in children born to women who are infected with the virus.
“Arkansas residents traveling to Central or South America or the Caribbean, where Zika is present, should take precautions against mosquitoes. If you are pregnant, consider postponing your trip,” said Dr. Nate Smith, Arkansas Department of Health Director and State Health Officer said in the release. “Arkansas has the kind of mosquitoes that carry Zika virus, so mosquitoes here in Arkansas can become infected with the virus if they bite someone who has Zika. For this reason, people traveling to countries with Zika should avoid mosquito bites for 10 days after they return. Travelers to areas where Zika is present should also go to their doctor if they experience any of the symptoms associated with Zika within three to seven days after they return.”