A pregnant woman from Connecticut who traveled to Central America has tested positive for the Zika virus.
The state’s Department of Public Health said the woman conceived during the trip, but also became ill with a fever and rash while traveling in South America. She was seven-weeks pregnant when she contracted the virus, but it is unclear what country she was in at the time.
She reportedly left Connecticut in February and was in Central America around March 17 when she began to feel ill.
According to the Department of Public Health, on March 30 she returned to Connecticut and saw her doctor, who tested her for the Zika virus.
Officials said the woman has since returned to Central America, and on Tuesday doctors learned of her diagnosis. She did not know about it at the time she went back to Central America.
This is the third positive Zika virus test in Connecticut, and a first for a pregnant woman. Officials said the woman does not pose a risk of infecting other people.
Public health officials said the woman has family in Connecticut and can return whenever she wants to.
The DPH said they are working with the woman’s physician to ensure that both the woman and her doctor have the necessary information and guidance they need.
To date, officials said 426 cases of travel-related Zika have been reported in the 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.
DPH Commissioner Raul Pino said “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.”
Male partners of women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant should 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:
There are no mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus that have been reported in Connecticut. The state will be collecting samples at the end of May.
In a statement, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal said “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.”
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