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Zika Virus Information

As of September 30, 2016 in South Carolina:

  • Travel-associated cases reported: 49
    • Pregnant women: 0
    • Sexually transmitted: 1*
  • Locally acquired vector-borne cases reported: 0
  • Total cases: 49

South Carolina has had 49 travel-associated cases of Zika virus. Of those, 48 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 develop symptoms. 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:  

  • Use insect repellents.
  • Ensure screens are placed over windows.
  • Wear long-sleeves and pants or permethrin-treated clothes.
  • Empty any items that can hold water both inside and outside dwellings at least once a week. These items include tires, buckets, toys, and trash containers.
Additional Resources
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. 
Prevention of Sexual Transmission

Sexual transmission of Zika virus from a person who has Zika to his or her sex partners is possible, although mosquito bites remain the primary way that Zika virus is transmitted. Sex includes vaginal, anal, oral sex, and the sharing of sex toys.

  • Because Zika can cause birth defects, pregnant women with partners who live in or traveled to an area with Zika should protect themselves throughout their pregnancy.
    • Pregnant couples should use condoms every time they have sex or not have sex throughout the pregnancy. This is important, even if the partner does not have symptoms of Zika or feel sick. They should also not share sex toys throughout the pregnancy.
  • Anyone not concerned about pregnancy that wants to avoid getting or passing Zika during sex can use condoms every time they have sex, or not have sex. The recommended period of time for taking these precautions will depend on the couple’s situation.
    • Couples with a partner who has traveled to an area with Zika should use condoms or not have sex for:
      • At least 8 weeks after a Zika diagnosis or start of symptoms if the traveling partner is female.
      • At least 6 months after a Zika diagnosis or start of symptoms if the traveling partner is male.
      • At least 8 weeks after returning if the traveling partner (male or female) has no symptoms.
  • If you are trying to become pregnant, talk to your health care provider and find more information at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/pregnancy/women-and-their-partners.html
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.