Delaware announces fifth Zika case from travel abroad

- The Delaware Division of Public Health has announced a fifth Zika case following Friday’s announcement of a fourth case.

According to a press release, the new case is a New Castle County man who traveled in May.

The press release states that like the four other cases, the person got the illness from a mosquito bite while traveling abroad. It did not say where any of them went.

The first three cases announced in February and March were New Castle County residents – a man and two women. The fourth case – a man – is a Kent County resident who also traveled abroad in May.

None of the five Delaware residents are considered infectious if they are bitten by a mosquito that then bites another person, according to the press release. The virus leaves the blood after about a week, and all current Delaware cases are two weeks to several months old.

The press release also states that there have been no confirmed cases of transmission via a local mosquito bite anywhere in the continental U.S.

Also, pregnancy is not a factor in any of the five Delaware cases.

“As with the fourth case, we are not surprised at a fifth Delaware case given the amount of global travel these days and we expect more to come,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “It simply reinforces the message that taking mosquito bite prevention steps while abroad is very important. The illness continues to show no symptoms in the majority of people and symptoms are generally mild for those who do become ill. However, pregnant women and their male partners with a travel history to the countries with Zika should be especially concerned and take precautions because of the potentially very serious birth defects linked to the disease.”

Added DPH Medical Director Dr. Awele Maduka-Ezeh, “The U.S. and District of Columbia now have 691 confirmed Zika cases as of June 8, none of which were local mosquito-borne. That may begin to change if we see more and more cases in the continental U.S., which increases the likelihood of local mosquitoes being infected with the disease. Preventing mosquito bites and using condoms here and abroad remain the best protection.”

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