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Zika Virus Information

As of July 1, 2016 in South Carolina:

  • Travel-associated cases reported: 6
    • Pregnant women: 0
    • Sexually transmitted: 1*
  • Locally acquired vector-borne cases reported: 0
  • Total cases: 6

South Carolina has had 6 travel-associated cases of Zika virus. Of those, 5 were in travelers who were infected abroad and diagnosed after they returned home. *One case involved a South Carolina resident who had sexual contact with someone who acquired the Zika infection while traveling abroad.

Due to federal privacy restrictions, DHEC is unable to provide additional information concerning any individual, including details about physical condition, hospitalization, age, sex, and residence.

Updates:


Summary

In response to an outbreak of Zika virus in South America, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued travel advisories for anyone traveling to areas where the virus is common. The advisory is particularly important for women who are pregnant, as the outbreak has led to reports of pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes. U.S. cases have been reported in  travelers who have visited areas where Zika virus is common.

Transmission

Zika virus is primarily spread to people through the bite of some Aedes mosquitoes. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth. Spread of the virus through blood transfusion and sexual contact have been reported.

Symptoms

About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill (i.e., develop Zika). Symptoms can start about 3 to 7 days after being bitten by a mosquito carrying Zika virus. Common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). The first symptom is usually fever which may be associated with a rash. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. Severe illness is uncommon.

Prevention

Precautions to avoid mosquito bites can help to prevent Zika virus infection where transmission is occurring as well as all mosquito-borne illnesses.  Avoid mosquito bites by taking the following precautions:  

Information for pregnant women
  • The CDC recommends that all women who are pregnant should not travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider if you are pregnant and traveled to an area with ongoing Zika virus transmission.
  • Women trying to become pregnant should consult with their healthcare provider before traveling to these areas. If travel does occur, strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip. 

Sexual transmission of Zika virus from a male partner is possible, although mosquito bites remain the primary way that Zika virus is transmitted. Due to concerns about possible sexual transmission of Zika virus during pregnancy, CDC has released the following recommendations to men who live in or have traveled to Zika affected areas:

  • Men with Zika virus disease should wait at least 6 months after symptom onset to attempt conception.
  • Men with a pregnant partner should abstain from sex or use condoms the right way every time for vaginal, anal or oral sex for the duration of the pregnancy. 
  • Men who are concerned about sexual transmission of Zika virus may consider abstaining from sexual activity or using condoms the right way every time for vaginal, anal and oral sex.
  • Women and men with possible exposure to Zika virus but without clinical illness consistent with Zika virus disease should wait at least 8 weeks after exposure to attempt conception.
General information for travelers
  • Consult with a travel medicine clinic or look for current health issues for specific destinations.
  • Prepare to take recommended precautions prior to and during travel.
  • Should you become ill soon after you travel and you need medical care, always inform your health care provider about your travel history.
  • If you have traveled to an area with Zika virus transmission and are experiencing symptoms, contact your healthcare provider. 
  • Even if they do not feel sick, travelers returning to the United States from an area with Zika should take steps to prevent mosquito bites for 3 weeks so they do not spread Zika to uninfected mosquitoes.