Health officials investigating suspected case of Zika on Maui

Health officials investigating suspected case of Zika on Maui

WAILUKU, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Maui health officials are investigating a suspected travel-associated case of Zika.

In a news release, Maui County said a resident apparently contracted Zika while traveling in Latin America in February.

Initial lab results were inconclusive, officials said, but pointed a high probability of the virus. It's unclear whether the resident was infectious.

"Because the lab results thus far point to the high probability of Zika, we are taking this very seriously," said Dr. Lorrin Pang, Maui County District Health Officer, in a news release.

"We need the public's help in preventing the spread of whichever virus caused the illness so that we don't get locally transmitted cases. The best way to do this is to eliminate mosquito breeding sites and make sure people avoid getting mosquito bites."

The state and county will be visiting Maui's North Shore this week to look for mosquito breeding sites.

So far this year, Hawaii has seen two confirmed cases of Zika virus. In both cases, residents picked up the virus while traveling abroad.

In 2015, Hawaii saw four cases of Zika virus in the state. There were two reported cases in 2014. All of those who tested positive got the virus abroad, and there has been no local transmission of Zika in Hawaii.

Zika is caused by the Zika virus and spread by mosquitoes.

The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis. About 1 in 5 adults infected with Zika will actually get sick. Symptoms are typically mild and last several days to a week.

More recently, the most alarming element of Zika has been its link to a serious birth defect called microcephaly, in which babies are born with small heads and brains.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends special precautions for women who are pregnant or may become pregnant. In the Pacific, Zika travel notices have been issued for American Samoa, the Marshall Islands, Samoa and Tonga. Pregnant women should avoid traveling to these areas.

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