Maryland Confirms First Case of Zika Virus
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is announcing its first confirmed case of a Marylander being infected with the Zika virus. The mosquito-borne virus has caused the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue travel warnings for pregnant women.
The patient had traveled to a country where Zika transmission has been active and ongoing. A blood test confirmed that the patient had Zika.
“Our department will continue to actively partner with the CDC, Maryland healthcare providers, laboratories, and health departments to provide support to Marylanders at risk of Zika infection – especially to pregnant women,” said Secretary Van Mitchell. “As CDC guidance has evolved, we actually have expanded access to testing for people who had not met that agency’s initial testing criteria.”
According to a news release, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is monitoring the latest developments related to the virus, and is in frequent communication with the CDC. The department regularly communicates with and distributes guidance to Maryland hospitals, healthcare providers and the public. The Department is maintaining situational awareness and facilitating testing of individuals who have traveled to areas with ongoing Zika transmission – with an emphasis on pregnant women.
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene encourages Marylanders who have questions about how their travel histories might affect their risk to consult their physicians.
Marylanders and other travelers returning from regions with ongoing Zika transmission, such as the Caribbean and Central and South America, may have been exposed to the virus. As such, the arrival of travelers makes it likely that Maryland will see confirmed cases of infection. According to the CDC, the virus chiefly is transmitted by mosquito, though there also have been reports of transmission through blood transfusion and sexual contact.
Symptoms of Zika may include fever, rash, conjunctivitis and joint pain. But the CDC has emphasized that not all people who become infected with the virus display symptoms, even throughout the course of infection that can last several days to a week. The CDC says, in fact, about only one in five people will display symptoms.
The Health and Mental Hygiene public health laboratory expects to be able to test for Zika within the next week. Meanwhile, the state is sending samples directly to the CDC labs for analysis.
There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika. Persons who are concerned that they may have been exposed to Zika virus or who have symptoms of Zika virus infection should talk to their healthcare provider because symptoms of illness can be caused by a number of different ailments.
The CDC continues to investigate the link between Zika cases in pregnant women and infants born with microcephaly, a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared with those of babies of the same sex and age. Babies with microcephaly often have smaller brains that may not have developed properly.
Health and Mental Hygiene is working with the Maryland Department of Agriculture to prepare for upcoming warmer temperatures when mosquito activity will increase and where that activity could affect residents’ health. As a rule, during warmer months, residents should work to eliminate standing water around their homes that could facilitate breeding grounds for the insects.
Here are five things to know today, Oct. 4, in Montgomery County: 1. The Montgomery County Council meets today and on the agenda is a health department update about the Zika virus, a Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) update about efforts to reduce class size, and a 1:30 p.m. public hearing about the future of […]
The state of Maryland used a truck to help eradicate mosquitoes in two areas of Montgomery County last week. Montgomery County Health and Human Services spokesperson Mary Anderson said the spraying took place in a section of Gaithersburg and in a section of Wheaton. According to Anderson, residents in the spray area received reverse 9-1-1 […]
While many people are enjoying their summer, going the beach, enjoying the sun, it is mosquito season. The West Nile, the Degue and the Chikigonya viruses have already terrorized people and the mosquitoes themselves, but there is a bigger program that is being faced currently, the Zika virus. To lean more information about the virus, […]
Marta Gill was a guest on the county’s Spanish language radio show, Montgomery Al Dia. Gill, a nurse with the county’s department of Health and Human Services, discussed the county’s Zika virus prevention efforts. Take a look: Visit our PEG partner County Cable Montgomery to view more of its local programming. For more information go […]
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Montgomery County officials are hosting a Town Hall meeting to discuss the Zika virus on June 29, from 6:30 – 8 p.m., at the Upcounty Regional Services Center in Germantown. Local leaders will outline the County’s action plan and provide information on steps residents can take to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites. […]
Fight the Bite is the name of a local educational campaign to protect residents from mosquitoes. Local, state and federal officials recently held a Zika virus town hall meeting at the Dennis Avenue Health Center to discuss prevention and protection. Visit our PEG partner County Cable Montgomery to view more of its local programming.
Lorna Virgili hosts the latest episode of County Report This Week, which includes reports on a forum about the Zika virus in Silver Spring, recruitment efforts for Montgomery County’s Fire and Rescue Services, MCPS graduation ceremonies, a recap of Montgomery College’s successful baseball season and more. Watch the show, below:
Concerned about the Zika virus? Montgomery County residents can find out more about the virus and learn how to lower infection risk by taking part in an information session on Thursday, May 26. Take a look at the video below. Visit our PEG partner County Cable Montgomery to view more of its local programming.
Lorna Virgili hosts the latest episode of County Report This Week, which includes reports on the Zika virus awareness campaign, the fallen heroes memorial ceremony, the new transit center at Montgomery Mall and more. You can watch the show in its entirety, below: