The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

MSDH confirms three cases of Zika virus in Mississippi

The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus from Africa that causes mild illness symptoms similar to the flu as well as rashes in 20 percent of its victims. As of Wednesday there have been three cases of the virus confirmed by the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) within the state.   While the symptoms are relatively benign in most cases, the MSDH said the virus can cause devastating birth defects if contracted by a pregnant woman or if pregnancy begins while the virus is present and there are no available treatments or vaccines for the virus. 
   The MSDH listed the third confirmed case as a resident of Oktibbeha County. 
 Amy Loggins, resident nurse in the infections control department of Oktibbeha County Hospital, said the patient was not treated by OCH. 
  “All we know is that we did not draw the blood,” Loggins said. “We were very interested to know where it came from though.”
 Loggins said all three cases in Mississippi were in individuals who had recently traveled from Haiti. According to the MSDH, the first reported case was in a Madison County resident, the second was found in a patient of Lowry Medical Clinic in Columbus and the third is reported to be an Oktibbeha County resident. 
 All cases are confirmed by MSDH after hospitals or clinics such as Lowry Medical send in blood samples to be processed by the state health department medical lab. 
 MSDH is unable to say which locations the blood samples where drawn.
   Warren Edward, medical assistant at Lowry Medical Clinic, said his clinic was the one to send in the blood sample leading to the second confirmed case. Edward said the patient was a young white american who had recently returned from a mission trip to Haiti. 
   MSDH said death from the Zika Virus is very rare, and Edward said generally patients will only require supportive care for the symptoms. 
   “It is only really a concern with pregnant females or females who wish to become pregnant,” Edward said. 
 He said while the symptoms are otherwise not life-threatening, anyone experiencing them should seek medical attention, and confirmed cases should avoid contact with pregnant females. 
 The MSDH advises women who are or may become pregnant to use condoms during the entire term of their pregnancy if contraction of the virus is at all a risk. 
   “Zika has been seen in parts of Africa, Southeast Asia and some Pacific islands for years, but has recently been reported in approximately 30 countries, mostly in the Caribbean, Central and South America,” a MSDH press release said. “The Zika virus is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. The breed of mosquito that is spreading Zika – Aedes Aegypti – has not been detected in Mississippi since the mid-1980s. The MSDH is currently conducting surveillance on all mosquito populations in the state.”
  State Epidemiologist Thomas Dobbs said pregnant woman should avoid travel to these countries. He said at this time the mosquito known to be spreading the virus in these countries has not been found in Mississippi. 
    “Three U.S. territories and 36 other states have already reported travel-associated cases,” Dobbs said. “With late spring and summer approaching, we know it is a popular time for mission trips and vacations to these areas. Please be especially mindful of protecting yourself from mosquitoes while you’re abroad. Simple steps can make a big difference.”
 

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
MSDH confirms three cases of Zika virus in Mississippi