First case of Zika virus identified In Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA, PA (WTXF) - The Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced today that the first case of Zika virus has been identified in a Philadelphia resident. The infection occurred in a woman over 60 years of age who had recently returned from travel to the Caribbean. She was not hospitalized for infection and is presently recovering without complications.

"In my humble opinion if you're pregnant, I would go as far away from that area as possible. You don't want to put yourself and your child at risk," said Dr. Mike Cirigliano regarding the Zika virus which is rampant in the Caribbean and Latin America right now.

By now, most of us know that it’s a virus carried by mosquitos and can be transmitted from person to person through sex. Dr. Mike reminds us that the most significant threat it poses is to women of child bearing age.

"The only concern here that I have is that are you pregnant?  Are you thinking of getting pregnant? Those are the folks that should not go there," said Dr. Mike.

That’s because the virus can cause congenital defects that cause a child to be born with a very small size brain.

But with spring and summer approaching there’s another concern: college kids heading for fun in the Caribbean sun over spring break. And the possibility of risky behavior.

"Being a parent and a realist I understand that things may go on. What I'm concerned about is the potential for transmission of this virus sexually and that pregnancies may occur from an infected individual. If you’re a college age person you need to take precautions," said Dr. Mike.

The other important thing to note is there’s no vaccine or cure for Zika virus yet. And Dr. Mike predicts the number of cases could continue to rise.

"My concern is that as summer comes along we could see this spread up to Florida, Texas, and as it warms up here we may see it spread even further north," he explained.

Dr. Mike also says 89% of people infected won’t have symptoms. He says if you’re pregnant and travel to the affected areas, you should have a blood test anywhere from 2 to 12 weeks when you get back.

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