SEATTLE -- Health officials have confirmed the first case of the Zika virus in King County. It's the third case of Zika in Washington state.
The King County case involved a man in his forties who recently traveled to the country of Colombia. That's one of the countries where Zika is actively spreading, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The other two Washington state cases were found in people who became infected in countries that have active Zika outbreaks.
The King County case does not pose a risk to the public. The mosquitoes that transmit Zika aren't found in the Pacific Northwest so health officials don't expect the virus to spread.
Read below for more information from Public Health - Seattle & King County:
Zika virus symptoms, risks and transmission
Symptoms of Zika are generally mild and include fever, rash, joint pain and redness of the eyes. Symptoms typically begin two to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Many people who get Zika have no symptoms at all. There is no vaccine to prevent infection or medicine to treat Zika.
Zika infection is a very serious concern for pregnant women because of its link with a birth defect in newborns called microcephaly, an abnormally small brain and skull, and other poor pregnancy outcomes. Zika is also linked to Guillan-Barré Syndrome, a problem marked by muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis.
The CDC has determined that Zika can also be spread by an infected man to his sexual partners, even when he does not have symptoms or know that he is infected. It’s important for men who have traveled to an area with Zika to follow CDC’s guidance to prevent sexual transmission of Zika, even if they don’t feel sick.
Zika response in King County
Communicable disease experts at Public Health – Seattle & King County have been working with local health care providers to identify and evaluate potential Zika infections. To date, over 180 patients in King County have had blood samples sent to the CDC for Zika testing. The test reported today is the first to confirm Zika infection in a King County resident.
Local health departments will continue to play their critical role in Zika response. Public Health – Seattle & King County will continue to provide the foundational public health work of communicable disease response:
“Zika is a serious risk for pregnant women who travel to areas where outbreaks are occurring and who have sex partners who have traveled to these areas,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “Women who are pregnant should avoid travel to Zika-affected areas if possible and both women and men who do travel to areas where the Zika virus is spreading should take precautions to prevent infection from this virus.”
Zika virus prevention for pregnant women and women who may become pregnant
Sexual transmission of Zika
Couples with men who live in or travel to areas with Zika can prevent the spread of Zika by using condoms every time they have sex, or by not having sex. To be effective, condoms must be used consistently and correctly. CDC has more information about preventing sexual transmission of Zika: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/transmission/sexual-transmission.html
For more information, visit www.kingcounty.gov/zika and www.publichealthinsider.com.