The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is involved in an investigation of Zika infection in a Utah resident who is a family contact of an elderly Utah resident who died in late June.
Lab tests of the deceased patient, who had traveled to an area with Zika, showed >100,000 times the amount of Zika virus in his blood than in other samples of infected people. Evidence of Zika infection was reported in both Utah residents by labs in Utah and at the CDC. Public health disease control specialists and the CDC are studying how the second resident contracted the infection.
The case involves interviews with and lab testing of family members and healthcare workers who may have come in contact with the deceased patient, as well as trapping mosquitoes and assessing the risk of local spread.
As of July 13, 2016, a total of 1,306 cases of Zika not a result of local mosquito spread have been reported in the U.S. and Hawaii. “The new case in Utah is a surprise, showing that we still have more to learn about Zika,” said Erin Staples, MD, PhD, CDC’s Medical Epidemiologist on the ground in Utah, “Fortunately, the patient recovered quickly, and from what we have seen with more than 1,300 travel-associated cases of Zika in the continental United States and Hawaii, non-sexual spread from one person to another does not appear to be common.”
State, local, and territorial public health officials have implemented the following activities to protect pregnant women from Zika infection:
- Alerts to avoid travel to an area with active Zika transmission, to women in these areas to take steps to prevent mosquito bites, and to partners of pregnant women to use a condom to prevent sexual transmission during pregnancy
- Development and distribution of PCR and IgM testing kits to confirm Zika virus infection
- Establishment of CDC Emergency Response Teams to rapidly deploy to assist with Zika-related preparedness and response activities in the United States
- Deployment of experts to assist in enhancement of mosquito surveillance and testing
- Collaboration with FDA, blood collection centers, and other entities in the public and private sectors on enhancement of surveillance of blood donations
- Guidance to prevent sexual transmission, particularly to women who are pregnant
- Guidance for clinicians on the care of pregnant women who may have been exposed to Zika
- Studies in collaboration with Brazil, Colombia, and other countries to better understand the link between Zika infection and birth defects, including microcephaly
For more information call (800) 232-4636 or visit CDC.gov.