Hancock County Resident Tests Positive For Zika Virus
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday announced the first confirmed case of the Zika virus in the state.
Officials say the individual, who described as a mature adult (65+) from Hancock County, traveled to a Zika-affected country and experienced symptoms after returning home. Hospitalization was not required and the person continues to recover at home.
"The common link to this virus is travel, and this finding is not unexpected," Dr. Siiri Bennett, Maine’s state epidemiologist, said in a news release. "Several countries in the Caribbean, Central, and South America are experiencing outbreaks and Mainers like to travel to warm places in the winter."
To date, 25 samples for residents across the state who have traveled have been or are being tested. Of the tests that have been completed, this is the first positive test result.
Only one in five people infected with Zika show symptoms and the symptoms resolve on their own. Symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis, muscle pain and headache.
State officials stress that the mosquitoes that can transmit Zika virus are not present in Maine.
"It’s important for the public to understand that the aedes mosquito that transmits the Zika virus is not found in Maine,’" Bennett said, "and that your neighbor who has come home from a trip to South America cannot transmit the virus to you."
Although it is less common, the virus can be spread through sexual contact between an infected male and his partner, state officials said. The World Health Organization and U.S. CDC are investigating a potential link between Zika virus and an increase in microcephaly, a birth defect in which the size of a baby’s head is smaller than expected.
For those Mainers that travel to affected areas, the state CDC recommends:
- Wear long sleeves and long pants
- Use an EPA-approved repellent on skin and clothes
- Stay in places with air conditioning or the use screens on the windows and doors to help keep mosquitoes out.
- Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas and outside