Indiana health officials on Tuesday confirmed the state’s first case of the Zika virus, found in a person who had recently returned from a trip to Haiti.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report ongoing transmission of the Zika virus in Caribbean destinations including Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
The virus is widespread in Central and South America. It is largely transmitted through mosquito bites and is linked to the birth defect microcephaly, a congenital condition associated with incomplete brain development and abnormal smallness of the head.
Although the gender of the infected person hasn’t been revealed, state officials said the person was not pregnant.
Jen Brown, public health veterinarian for the Indiana Department of Health, said the agecny does not believe the presence of the person infected with Zika virus represents a threat to the larger community.
“The symptoms developed within a short time of the last day of travel. It was a relatively mild illness that did not require hospitalization. The patient has since made a full recovery,” Brown said.
Brown said Indiana doesn’t have the mosquito largely responsible for carrying the virus, Aedes aegypti.
But she said another mosquito known to transmit the virus, Aedes albopictus, is present in the southern two-thirds of Indiana, including counties bordering Kentucky.
“Just because we have a vector capable of transmitting the virus doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re expecting widespread transmission of the virus if it’s introduced into our state,” she said.
Brown said health officials are monitoring the situation closely and will notify the public if conditions change.
“At this time we feel that the risk of a Zika virus outbreak occurring in the state of Indiana is low,” she said.
There is no vaccine or specific treatment for Zika virus other than treating the symptoms associated with the condition. So far in the U.S., Zika virus cases have been confirmed in Dallas, Georgia and Florida.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed a recent case of the virus in Dallas, where it was passed through sexual transmission. The person carrying the virus had recently returned from a trip to Venezuela.