SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – A Snohomish County female in her teens has tested positive for the Zika virus according to results released to the Snohomish Health District. She had recently traveled to Nicaragua, one of the areas known to have mosquitos infected with the Zika virus.
The patient is not pregnant, and the Snohomish Health District is working closely with her health care provider to ensure that she follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. For women, this includes preventing pregnancy for 8 weeks after symptom onset. Zika has been linked to increased risk of birth defects in pregnant women, as the virus can be passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy or birth.
New CDC guidance recommends that health care providers assess all pregnant women for possible Zika virus exposure during each prenatal visit. Those women with possible exposure, with or without symptoms, should be tested.
“We continue learn more about this disease on a daily basis, leading to CDC guidelines being updated frequently” said Nancy Furness, communicable disease director for the Snohomish Health District. “While it is likely that we will see more Zika cases here locally and around the region, staying informed and following simple prevention recommendations are the best courses of action for our community.”
The virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The only confirmed area in the United States where Zika has been spread via the Aedes mosquito is within the Wynwood neighborhood in Miami, Fla. While this species is not currently in Washington, people who travel to and from areas where Zika is spreading can return with the illness.
Studies had previously confirmed that Zika virus was sexually transmitted from men to women. Recent evidence suggests that Zika virus is also sexually transmitted from women to men. In general, women who may have been exposed are advised to wait at least 8 weeks before attempting to conceive. Men who have been exposed through travel or have tested positive for Zika are encouraged to either abstain from sexual contact or use barriers such as condoms for up to 6 months after testing positive.
The Snohomish Health District works for a safer and healthier community through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats. To read more about the District and for important health information, visit www.snohd.org.