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One Virginian with Zika, But Transmission "Impossible"

A resident of Virginia has returned to the country with the Zika virus, but since the virus is carried by mosquitoes, health officials are very confident it won't spread. (Joaquim Alves Gaspar/Wikipedia)
A resident of Virginia has returned to the country with the Zika virus, but since the virus is carried by mosquitoes, health officials are very confident it won't spread. (Joaquim Alves Gaspar/Wikipedia)
January 28, 2016

RICHMOND, Va. - One person returning to Virginia from overseas has tested positive for the Zika virus, but health officials are confident transmission here is impossible.

Dr. Laurie Forlano is the state health department's top epidemiologist. She says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the unnamed state resident did get the virus while in another country. But Forlano says we can be confident it won't spread because it's carried by mosquitoes, and by spring the patient won't be infectious.

"The infection is transmitted by mosquitoes but, as you know, we just had a big blizzard here. So right now mosquitoes aren't a concern for us," says Forlano.

More information at the department website, vdh.state.va.us, or at the CDC's site, cdc.gov.

According to the CDC, the virus usually causes a mild illness. But Forlano says there has been a correlation between the virus and serious birth defects. So, she says, they are recommending pregnant women stay away from countries where the virus is active.

"If you are a pregnant woman, we strongly encourage you to consider postponing travel to these areas of the world until more information becomes available," she says.

Forlano says it's important not to overreact to what is a very distant threat. But she says by mosquito season, the U.S. is going to have to be ready for the potential of more travelers with the virus.

Dan Heyman/Scott Herron, Public News Service - VA