MISSISSIPPI (WDAM) - A third case of Zika virus has been reported in Mississippi Wednesday, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health.
An Oktibbeha County resident contracted the virus when the resident recently traveled to Haiti, according to an MSDH press release.
Two other cases have been reported in Madison and Noxubee Counties. Both of those residents also traveled to Haiti.
According to the press release, Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause birth defects if the virus is contracted during pregnancy. The virus has been prevalent in parts of Africa, Southeast Asia and some Pacific Islands for many years. But, it has recently been reported in more than two dozen countries and now in the U.S.
According to the press release, Aedes Aegypti, the breed of the mosquito that is spreading Zika, has not been detected in the Magnolia State since the mid-1980s.
The Mississippi State Department of Health is now conducting surveillance on all mosquito populations across Mississippi.
Symptoms of the virus include fever, conjunctivitis or rash and joint pain. The virus can last for several days and up to a week. In fact, 80 percent of those who have the virus show no symptoms at all and death is rare, according to the press release.
Officials advise pregnant women or women who may get pregnant to avoid traveling to countries where the virus has been transmitted. Currently, there are no treatments or vaccines for Zika virus.
"Pregnant women should avoid travel to these countries," Dobbs said in MSDH press release. "At this time, the mosquito spreading Zika in Mexico, South America and the Caribbean is not known to be present in Mississippi. All of the cases reported in the United States so far are related to international travel."
Health officials also advise that pregnant women should avoid sexual contact or only have protected sex using a condom with any man whole has come back from a country with the Zika virus. According to the press release, this should continue for the duration of the pregnancy.
Precaution should be taken by all traveler to countries with Zika outbreaks, according to MSDH.
Here are some basic protective measures:
- Use a recommended mosquito repellant that contains DEET while you are outdoors
- Avoid areas where mosquitoes are prevalent
- Wear loose, light-colored clothing to cover arms and legs when outdoors during the day or night
Also, travelers returning from countries with Zika transmission should take protective measures to avoid mosquito bites in the state to avoid transmitting the Zika virus to local mosquitoes.