Dover, Del. The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced the state's second and third Zika cases, bringing the total number of Delaware cases to three.
According to the DPH, three cases are travel-related and the result of a mosquito bite during visits to the countries where Zika is widespread. In the second case, an adult male was tested after showing symptoms of the disease from a January 2016 trip. In the third case, an adult female also showed symptoms of the disease following a late February-early March trip. Pregnancy is not an issue. Both cases were mild and risk of infection to others is extremely low.
Zika is primarily spread by mosquito bite, and is not spread through casual contact like hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing utensils, etc. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy. It is not yet known how often Zika is transmitted from mother to baby. In rare cases, it also may be transmitted sexually in semen. While Zika does not remain in the blood for longer than about a week, which means that transmission from person-to-person via mosquito bite must occur within a very tight timeframe, it is not known how long Zika remains in semen.
Zika is a very mild illness and the vast majority of people exposed to it do not develop symptoms. Symptoms typically begin two to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes).
The most significant long-term health problems linked to Zika are serious birth defects. There have been reports of serious birth defects in infants whose mothers contracted the virus while pregnant. Microcephaly, a condition in which a baby's head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age, and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers infected with Zika are now being linked to the virus.
The first Delaware Zika case, an adult female, was announced in February and a result of a mosquito bite during travel. Pregnancy was not an issue. According to the CDC, there are almost 260 travel-related Zika cases in the U.S., six of which were contracted sexually.
To report a potential illness or receive further guidance on testing, call the DPH Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 302-744-4990.