Savannah doctor addresses Zika virus concerns

Savannah doctor addresses Zika virus concerns

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The number of Zika virus cases in the United States is up.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are now at least 32 cases across a dozen states and Washington D.C.

Health officials want to stress while we have confirmed Zika cases in America, the virus is not spreading in America.

Some travelers are getting it in affected countries and coming back to the states. So far in Georgia, Dr. Diane Z. Weems says there are no confirmed cases of that happening.
"We do have a handful of cases that are being tested that might have been cases imported from travel abroad," said Savannah District Health Director, Dr. Weems. "I think we're no more or no less at risk than other parts of the U.S. and we simply need to be cautious and be smart about this."
The Zika virus is not transmitted person to person but rather mosquito to person. Dr. Weems says despite that fact, there is still concern about infected people coming back to America.

"Zika is different in that if an infected individual comes back into the U.S. and a mosquito bites that person during the first couple of weeks that they're sick, there is the possibility that mosquito could become infected with the virus and then could transmit it to another individual," she said. 

She says our area has the kind of mosquitoes that could carry the disease.

"They're the mosquitoes you tend to breed in your own backyard."

If you are not pregnant or not planning on becoming pregnant, the virus may not be that bad.

"The symptoms are generally mild: fever, rash, joint and muscle pain," said Dr. Weems.

However, if you are pregnant and get the Zika virus, it could be very dangerous.

"Babies are born with a smaller than normal size head that's associated with significant developmental delays."
So what can we do to help prevent the virus from spreading in our country?

Dr. Weems says make sure you don't have stagnant water outside your home where mosquitoes can breed and use bug spray.

If you are heading out of the country soon she says check the latest C.D.C. travel advisories, please click here.

Finally, if you've been to an affected area and have symptoms, Dr. Weems says go straight to the doctor.

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