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BREAKING – Zika in Missoula

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The first confirmed case of Zika virus in Montana is a Missoula woman who had recently returned from a Zika-infected area.

Health Promotion Specialist with the Missoula City-County Health Department, Cindy Hotchkiss, added that the woman was not pregnant.

“Zika is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito,” Hotchkiss said. “That particular mosquito is not found in Montana, but we are informing people who may be traveling to a Zika-infected area you should be aware that Zika is in that area and do what you can to protect yourself from mosquito bites.”

Hotchkiss elaborates on the fact that the adult woman confirmed to be infected is not pregnant.

“The Zika virus has recently been linked with some pretty serious birth defects,” she said. “There is no vaccine to prevent Zika and no real medical treatment. It’s usually a very mild illness, but it can cause pretty serious birth defects. Only one in five people get sick from the virus Basically, you get a little rash, a little bit of joint pain, maybe some pink eye and a little fever, and it only lasts for four or five days.”

Hotchkiss provided some statistics on the progress of the Zika virus in the U.S.

“According to the CDC website, there are 107 travel-associated Zika cases in the United States so far,” she continued. “There are 23 countries that are affected by Zika virus.”

Hotchkiss said the Missoula woman noticed symptoms after she returned from overseas, visited her healthcare provider, and tested positive for the disease. She is currently under her doctor’s care.

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