Health

A pregnant woman is the third case of Zika virus in Kentucky, according the state’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

The woman from the Louisville area had recently traveled to Central America, where the virus is known to be circulating. She has since recovered from the illness, the state said.

The cabinet couldn’t provide details on the health of the fetus due to patient privacy rules.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 273 travel-associated Zika virus disease cases in the United States. Of those cases, 19 are in pregnant women and six were sexually transmitted.

The virus, transmitted most prominently through mosquito bites, is linked to the birth defect microcephaly, a congenital condition associated with incomplete brain development and abnormal smallness of the head. It can also be transmitted through the exchange of certain bodily fluids.

State officials said they do not believe Zika is present in the mosquito population in Kentucky.

The CDC recommends women who have traveled to areas with Zika virus transmission and who report two or more symptoms associated with Zika during or within two weeks of travel, or who have ultrasound findings of fetal microcephaly or intracranial calcifications, be tested for Zika in consultation with their state or local health department.

If a woman tests positive for the disease, serial ultrasound examination should be considered to monitor fetal growth and anatomy, and referral to a specialist is recommended, per CDC guidelines.

The agency also recommends pregnant women avoid travel to Zika-infected areas. If a pregnant woman must travel to a Zika-infected area, CDC recommends they talk to their health care provider prior to travel. The agency also recommends preventing mosquito bites by using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants, staying in cool places and avoiding mosquito breeding sites.