STATEWIDE – A warning has been issued for anyone who may be traveling south. Researchers at the University of New England said the Zika virus is a bigger risk now more than ever in the United States.
“Zika” has faded from the headlines, but one local doctor stated the strain here in the western hemisphere is far more aggressive and complicated than originally thought.
Doctor Meghan May at the University of New England said her lab has been studying the virus extensively.
Earlier this year, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported more birth defects in parts of the U.S. that have had Zika spread locally. The report stated southern Florida, south Texas and Puerto Rico saw a 21 percent increase in defects in the second half of 2016.
Dr. May said researchers have learned men can sexually transmit the virus for up to a year after they’re infected, but a lot of people never even know they have it because it can come without any symptoms. She stated, “We know about these cases that have been documented and published. There’s not a doubt in my mind there are more than that because so many people are sick and not being tested. And we don’t know what that number is.”
Dr. May added anyone traveling to Florida, Texas or Puerto Rico should pack lots of mosquito repellent. And if you have a fever within 14 days of the trip, you should get checked out by a doctor.