Zika virus confirmed in Clark County man

The Clark County Combined Health District has confirmed that a Northridge man has Zika that he contracted after traveling to an area affected by the virus.

The man’s illness previously was a suspected case reported by his doctor. The health district continues to work with the physician and the patient to prevent transmission of the disease, Health Commissioner Charles Patterson said.

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“Our whole goal here is to prevent the mosquitoes from getting Zika,” he said.

No cases of locally transmitted Zika have been reported in Ohio.

Blood and urine specimens were tested, both of which came back positive, Health Commissioner Charles Patterson said. With both tests confirming the virus, the sample does not require further testing from the Centers for Disease Control, he said.

The district will focus on educating the community on preventative measures, monitoring the local mosquito population and eliminating breeding grounds to reduce the risk of both Zika and West Nile virus ahead of the summer months, Patterson said.

“We don’t any mosquito-born diseases around our county,” Patterson said.

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Zika is primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, according to the health district, and there is no indication that it can spread from person to person through casual contact. It can be spread from partner to partner through sexual transmission.

State and local health officials were canvassing the Willow Chase neighborhood, north of Springfield, last weekend to educate people on how to protect themselves. The health district will have more specific directions for people in the neighborhood this week, starting today, Patterson said. It hasn’t been able to set mosquito traps this week due to the wet weather and wants to get the information before the rain stops on Sunday, he said.

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The primary mosquito that transmits the virus isn’t known to be established in Ohio, Patterson said. Another species of mosquito that potentially can transmit the virus is in parts of Ohio.

The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Eighty percent of those infected do not have any symptoms.

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The Springfield News-Sun reports on important public health and safety issues, including recent stories about the drug epidemic in Clark County and flu hospitalization rates.

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