Zika virus reported in Connecticut - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Zika virus reported in Connecticut

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(AP photo) (AP photo)

On Friday, the state Department of Public Health announced that the first case of Zika virus in the state has been detected.

The patient is between 60 and 69 years old and traveled to a Zika-affected area and had onset of illness on the day the patient returned in March.

Officials said the patient’s illness was characterized by a skin rash, conjunctivitis, fatigue, chills, headache, and muscle aches.

The patient was seen by a physician and is recovering, a press release said.

“We encourage those concerned about symptoms to consult their doctor, particularly if they have traveled to an affected area and particularly if they are pregnant. We have been actively taking steps for months to prepare for a positive case, including expedited testing and a coordinated response across agencies. While the risk of transmission is low, we are nevertheless no doubt continuing that preparation to the extent that we can,” Governor Malloy said in a press release.

In January, the governor directed the Department of Public Health to test for Zika virus. Testing began on Feb. 29, and the steps the state took to deliver testing in the lab resulted in expedited results.

“I would urge all residents to avoid travel to affected countries, and if they must, to be vigilant. As we have previously said, a confirmed case was never a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’. Because of the preparatory steps we’ve taken previously, we are able to test more quickly and in-state,” DPH Commissioner Raul Pino said in a press release. “With hundreds of positive cases nationwide, across 34 states, I encourage residents to be vigilant. We at the state level are monitoring this case – and preparing for any future cases – with the utmost diligence.”

To date, 258 cases of Zika have been reported in 34 states and the District of Columbia. Of those, 18 were pregnant women and another six were sexually transmitted.

In Connecticut, 198 samples have been received for testing, and 67 results have been received.

It is unclear where the patient is at this time.

In a statement, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy said “Zika is a scary disease that requires a serious, science-based response. I’m saddened to hear a Connecticut resident who traveled to a Zika-affected area contracted the disease, and wish the patient a speedy recovery,” said Murphy. “I am leading the Senate effort to fully fund the President’s emergency Zika budget request because people in Connecticut want their government officials to be in front of this public health scare. Yesterday, the Senate passed a new measure to incentivize drug companies to combat Zika, but without emergency funding we simply cannot effectively combat this potential epidemic."

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