Officials with the Belmont County Health Department were notified Thursday morning a woman in county tested positive for the Zika Virus. It is the first case of an Ohio Valley resident being infected with the Zika virus.
According to Health Department officials, the woman came down with symptoms – including fever, aches and conjunctivitis. Officials say she is not of childbearing years. She was tested at a hospital in the Wheeling area, and per protocol, they sent the sample to the Center for Disease Control.
Officials with the Health Department said the patient had traveled to a Haiti, where Zika transmission has been active and ongoing.
“She is a woman who goes to Haiti a lot. She volunteers there. And she came home, she was sick, she had joint pain, she had a rash. And she went to her family doctor who happens to be the health commissioner for Ohio County. And he recognized the symptoms and sent specimens to the CDC,” said Lynn Schrum, Infectious Disease Specialist.
“This woman is not of child-bearing age, and she is doing quite well right now. It’s more of an issue with the babies, the fetuses. It has a detrimental affect on them. And that’s where the big concern is. But a normal person, they’ll make it through the disease just fine,” said Robert Sproul, Belmont County Deputy Health Commissioner.
Officials say the CDC is getting flooded with requests for Zika tests, and there’s a one month waiting period to get the results.
In this woman’s case, she just found out on Thursday that she tested positive, and she has already fully recovered.
Both health departments encourage residents who have questions about how their travel histories might affect their risk to consult their physicians.