First case of Zika virus confirmed in Michigan

- The first case of the Zika virus in Michigan was confirmed Wednesday, according to Michigan health officials.

A female from Ingham County contracted the disease while traveling to an area where the disease is commonly transmitted, according to a statement from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Ingham County Health Department.

The woman experienced symptoms consistent with those of the virus shortly after returning to Michigan. Symptoms include a rash, fever, joint pain and red, itchy eyes, and typically last up to a week. However, many of those infected do not experience any symptoms. At this time, there are no medical treatments to treat the Zika virus infection or vaccines to prevent catching it.

The Zika virus is primarily spread from being bitten by an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. While they are not found in Michigan, these insects are widespread in tropical areas. Women who are pregnant are most at risk for contracting the disease, but the woman diagnosed in Michigan was not pregnant, officials said.

As this is typically the time of year where Michigan residents travel to warmer climates, travelers should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites, said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

"If you are pregnant, or may become pregnant, consider postponing your trip," Wells said. "Travelers to areas where Zika virus is present should contact their doctor if they experience symptoms associated with Zika virus during their trip, or within a week of their return home."

Michigan health officials said residents can help prevent mosquito bites by using the following precautions:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
  • Take precautions to avoid bites both during the day and in the evening. The mosquitoes that transmit Zika bite primarily during the day.
  • Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other EPA approved product to exposed skin or clothing, always following the manufacturer's directions for use.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
  • If also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent.  When applying repellent to children, apply it to your own hands and rub them on the child.  Avoid the eyes and mouth and do not apply to children's hands because they sometimes put their hands in their mouths.  Do not apply repellents to infants under 2 months of age and instead place nets over strollers and baby carriers.

For the most up-to-date information about where Zika virus is found, click here.

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