Tuesday, May 03, 2016
The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that a pregnant Connecticut woman has tested positive for Zika virus.
According to DPH, the patient became ill with a fever and rash while traveling in Central America. It was during this trip that the patient conceived.
The patient has since returned to Central America, a news release said.
DPH officials contacted the patient’s Connecticut physician today with the positive result and are working to get in touch with the patient or her family to ensure that she seeks medical care while she is out of the country, DPH said.
The DPH State Laboratory identified Zika specific antibodies in the patient’s blood, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the findings, the news release said.
This level of testing, approved for the State Laboratory by the CDC in April, allows the State Laboratory to test specimens from potentially infected patients who either did not become ill or were ill but tested more than a week after the onset of symptoms.
Prior to this approval from the CDC, specimens were sent to the CDC for testing, with an average turnaround of one month or longer for test results, the DPH said.
“The State continues to monitor Zika virus very closely — we have been preparing for months both to address positive cases and put measures in place to help prevent mosquito-related transmission of the virus here in Connecticut.,” said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
“As we’ve said, it wasn’t a question of if we would see a case, but when. All of our relevant agencies have been preparing as much as possible with the expectation that we will see more cases this summer.
“If you have traveled one of the Zika affected areas and are concerned about symptoms, particularly if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, I encourage you to consult your doctor.”
“We are working with the patient’s physician to ensure that both the physician and the patient have all the necessary information and guidance they need,” said DPH Commissioner Raul Pino.
“This virus is very dangerous for the babies of pregnant women, causing serious birth defects and miscarriages.
” It is extremely important for women who plan to become pregnant or who are pregnant to postpone travel to Zika affected areas.
” If travel cannot be avoided, women must take steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites: wear insect repellant and long sleeves and pants, and stay in locations with window and door screens or air conditioning, if possible.”
Pino also stressed that the male partners of women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant must also take precautions if they travel to Zika affected areas.
In order to avoid sexual transmission of the virus to their partner, men who have traveled should follow these guidelines established by the CDC:
Men diagnosed with Zika or who had symptoms of Zika should consider using condoms or not having sex for at least 6 months after symptoms begin.
Men who have traveled to an area with Zika but did not develop symptoms of Zika should consider using condoms or not having sex for at least 8 weeks after their return.
To date, 426 cases of travel-related Zika have been reported in the continental United States.
Of those, 36 were pregnant women and eight were sexually transmitted.
In Connecticut, 245 patients, including 217 pregnant women, have been tested for Zika virus to date, the DPH said.
Today’s result is the third positive test in Connecticut and first for a pregnant woman, it said.
In response to the DPH announcement, Sen. Richard Blumenthal issued a statement saying: “Today’s announcement of another person in Connecticut who has tested positive for Zika – this time a pregnant woman – once again underscores the need for immediate Congressional action.
“I have continuously urged Congress to act to protect families both domestically and abroad from this virus, and will continue to do so until Congressional Republicans finally take action.”
Posted 05/03/16 at 06:11 PM Permalink