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3rd Tenn. Zika Case Confirmed From Travel

Posted at 4:41 PM, May 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-20 00:17:32-04

Tennessee health officials have confirmed a third case of Zika virus in Tennessee.

Health Department Commissioner John Dreyzehner said all three cases were contracted by people while they were traveling outside the country. The third was confirmed Thursday in Rutherford County.

The two other cases were in East Tennessee and Shelby County.  Officials said both individuals are doing fine.

Zika is a mosquito-borne illness that is currently in 58 countries and territories.

Zika often causes no symptoms or mild symptoms, but it can cause the serious birth defect microcephaly if a pregnant woman becomes infected.  Typical symptoms include fever, red eyes, joint aches and mild rash.

As mosquito season begins in Tennessee, officials recommend people take steps to protect themselves.  That includes wearing insect repellent at home, while traveling to an affected country, and for three weeks after returning home.  They also advise people drain and cover standing water where mosquitoes can breed.

Pregnant women should avoid traveling to affected countries.  Since the disease can also be transmitted sexually, they should avoid sex with a person who has traveled to an affected area, or use a condom during sex.  

"It's really important we all do our part to protect people around us, and do everything we can prevent local transmission from occurring in our state," said Dr. Dreyzehner.

There is currently no vaccine, treatment or cure for Zika.

The state department of health has a Zika page where it answers frequently asked questions about the virus. The page can be found at www.tn.gov/health/article/zika-faq.