UPDATE: The Hamilton County Health Department has confirmed a case of the Zika virus after a resident has tested positive.

The person recently returned from an affected country where Zika disease is being transmitted by mosquitoes, according to a news release.

The Health Department is conducting door-to-door education in the general vicinity of the case, but has not disclosed the area in Hamilton County.

READ MORE | CDC Zika website
“We have expected that a travel-related case would occur within our county and we anticipate there will be more such cases,” says Dr. Valerie Boaz, Health Department Medical Director, “What is of paramount importance is that we work to prevent local transmission of the Zika virus.”

The list of affected areas includes many countries in the Caribbean and South and Central America. A section of Miami has also become a Zika hotspot, prompted officials to distribute mosquito repellent and netting to residents.

There is no vaccine to prevent infection and no specific antiviral treatment for Zika virus infection. Its most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. Zika virus is almost always a very mild illness. Approximately 80 percent of those infected never show symptoms of the disease while approximately 20 percent show only mild symptoms. In some rare cases, persons infected with Zika virus have developed Guillain–Barré Syndrome. In addition to mosquitoes, Zika virus can be transmitted through sexual contact and from mother to unborn child.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed that Zika virus is associated with poor pregnancy outcomes including microcephaly.  Women who are pregnant or of childbearing age especially need to understand the risk of contracting Zika virus disease. Pregnant women can be infected with Zika virus in any trimester.
“Even though there is currently no evidence of local transmission in Hamilton County from mosquitoes to humans,” says Health Department Epidemiology Manager Bev Fulbright, “This case is a reminder for everyone to consistently protect themselves from mosquito bites and prevent mosquito breeding areas by removing standing water, especially in small containers."

The CDC recommends the following to protect against mosquitoes:

  • Insect repellents which contain DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane 3,8-diol and IR3535. Duration of protection varies by repellant; read labels on products to determine when reapplications are necessary for optimal protection. To learn more about insect repellents, visit http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect/.
  • Wear long, loose and light-colored shirts and pants and wear socks. Tucking shirts in pants and tucking pants into socks will help form a barrier. Wear closed shoes or boots instead of sandals.
  • Treat clothing with permethrin or purchase clothing pretreated with permethrin. Do not apply permethrin directly to skin.
  • In locations lacking window screens and/or air conditioning, the use of bed nets is advised. These should reach the floor or be tucked under the mattress.
  • Avoid perfumes, colognes and products with fragrances that might attract mosquitoes.

For more information, visit Health.HamiltonTN.org, or http://tn.gov/health/topic/zika-virus, or call the Epidemiology section at 209-8190.