Zika Virus in Yuma: What you need to know

YUMA, Ariz. –  A Yuma County resident is recovering from Zika after traveling abroad and contracting the virus from a Zika-infected area. The Health Service District confirmed the case and were fully prepared with local and statewide plans.

The illness is most dangerous for pregnant women and their babies, and has been linked to birth defects. Some common misconceptions of Zika are that it’s long-term and that once someone is infected with it there’s a high risk of the virus spreading.

“It goes away. It’s four to seven days that a person can test positive for it actually afterward,” says John Moffett, Physician Assistant at Yuma Regional Medical Center. “The person will test negative for it about a week after illness. If it’s going to be transmitted, it has to be transmitted between that window of illness.”

There are no identifying signs of Zika, and in many cases the symptoms, if any, are flu-like.

“They get sick, but it’s a non-specific illness,” explained Moffett. “They can have a rash, muscle aches, fatigue, headaches, joint aches, these sorts of things which are very vague and not specific to Zika. It’s sort of a generalized and viral illness.”

The Health Service District believes that there is a low risk of Zika spreading, but there are different steps you can take to eliminate any possible breeding grounds. Moffett says, “Get rid of the water or spray insecticide on top of the water because that will kill the larvae.”

“They usually pool in kids’ toys,” says Diana Gomez, Director of Public Health. “Sometimes people will leave their toys outside and they’ll get wet with the sprinklers. They literally will breed in a bottle cap, so it doesn’t take a lot. Just look for those things, routinely go out there and check them. That’s the best think you can do to protect yourself.”

There are no specific medicines or vaccines for Zika, but with pain-relievers such as Advil or Tylenol, fluids, and rest the body will develop antibodies to kill off the virus.

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