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  • Public Health Officials Investigating Unique Case of Zika

    07/18/2016

    (Salt Lake City, UT) – Utah health officials confirmed today a new case of Zika in Utah and have launched an investigation to determine how the person became infected. The new case is a family contact who helped care for the individual who died in late June from unknown causes and who had been infected with Zika after traveling to an area with Zika.

    Laboratories at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and in Utah confirmed Zika infection in both Utah residents. A CDC team is in Utah to help with the investigation.

    The new case is the eighth Utah resident to be diagnosed with Zika. Based on what is known now, the person has not recently traveled to an area with Zika and has not had sex with someone who is infected with Zika or who has traveled to an area with Zika. In addition, there is no evidence at this time that mosquitoes that commonly spread Zika (aedes species) virus are in Utah.

    The investigation is focused on determining how the eighth case became infected after having contact with the deceased patient who had a uniquely high amount of virus in the blood.

    “Our knowledge of this virus continues to evolve and our investigation is expected to help us better understand how this individual became infected,” said Dr. Angela Dunn, deputy state epidemiologist at the UDOH. “Based on what we know so far about this case, there is no evidence that there is any risk of Zika virus transmission among the general public in Utah.”

    Public health investigators are interviewing the person and family contacts to learn more about the types of contact they had with deceased patient. They are also collecting samples for testing from family members and others who had contact with the deceased patient during their illness and are working in the communities where the two people with cases lived to trap and test mosquitoes.

    “We’re doing our part as public health officials to learn more about the virus and about this specific case,” said Gary Edwards, executive director of the SLCOHD. “In the meantime, the public, and especially pregnant women, should continue to take recommended steps to protect themselves from Zika virus.”

    The CDC recommends that women who are pregnant should not travel to areas with Zika. They should also use condoms or not have sex with partners who have traveled or live in an area with Zika for the duration of their pregnancy. For a list of areas with Zika visit http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/index.html. CDC also recommends people take steps to prevent mosquito bites: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/prevent-mosquito-bites.html.

    More tips on Zika prevention are available at http://health.utah.gov/epi/diseases/zika/.

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    The mission of the Utah Department of Health is to protect the public’s health through preventing avoidable illness, injury, disability and premature death, assuring access to affordable, quality health care and promoting healthy lifestyles.

  • What is known, as of 12 PM ET 07/18/2016:

    • The new individual who tested positive for Zika is a family member who provided care for the recently deceased patient who had Zika.
    • This new individual does not have any of the known risk factors we have seen thus far with Zika virus.
      • No recent history of travel to a country where Zika virus is being actively transmitted.
      • No report of sexual activity with anyone who recently traveled to a Zika affected country or who was diagnosed with Zika.
    • There is also no evidence at this time that mosquitoes that commonly spread Zika virus are in Utah.
    • At this time, we do not know if the contact between the new case and the decease patient played any role in the transmission of disease, but are working to investigate this situation.

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