February 09, 2016
Two Pennsylvania women contracted the Zika virus while traveling to countries affected by the outbreak, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced Tuesday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the cases, which mark the first in Pennsylvania. But state Heath Secretary Dr. Karen Murphy said they pose "no threat to the public."
Zika primarily is spread through infected mosquitos. It also has been found to spread from mother to child during pregnancy, blood transfusion and sexual transmission, but those cases are rare.
The virus has been linked to microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with small heads, and Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological disorder that can cause paralysis. Severe illness and death from Zika virus are uncommon.
Symptoms of the disease include fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis and headache. No vaccine or medications are available to treat the virus.
“We will continue to provide updated Zika guidance to health care professionals across the commonwealth to ensure they are aware of the symptoms associated with the disease and the protocols that should be followed to ensure testing of potentially infected individuals, if needed," Murphy said in a statement.
The CDC has recommended that all pregnant women consider postponing travel to areas where Zika transmission is ongoing.
Delaware also announced its first confirmed Zika case on Tuesday, according to the Wilmington News Journal. More details are expected Wednesday.
New Jersey has had one Zika case – a visitor from Colombia who recovered and returned home before Christmas.