Zika Virus Hits 324 in New York

The New York Department of Health announced this Thursday, June 30th, that as of Tuesday, there are 324 positive cases of Zika virus in New York, with at least 233 in New York City.

Of the 324 cases, 22 have been in pregnant women. In his statement Thursday, Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said, “Mosquito-borne diseases are a major public health threat, one that we monitor closely here in New York. The program is especially important this year as we work aggressively to protect New Yorkers from Zika and minimize the impact of this devastating disease.”

Areas Currently Affected in the United States

Nationwide, the virus is spreading, fortunately, not at an alarming rate. The map below illustrates the disease by state.

The mosquito-borne virus has also been reported in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.

Currently, in New York State, 18 of the state’s 57 counties outside of New York City have had a positive case of Zika as of last week. This includes two cases in Westchester, one in Putnam and three in Rockland. Dutchess, Monroe, Ontario and Tompkins county are also among those affected as well. The largest majority of Zika cases in New York have been in New York City with 241 and on Long Island, with 36 according to the data from the Department of Health.

Countries of High Risk

The people that are most at risk are those that have recently traveled to the Dominican Republic. Of the 233 that tested positive for Zika in New York City, 140 had reported recently arriving from the Dominican Republic. Other places frequently and recently visited by those that tested positive for the virus included Puerto Rico, with 20 cases, and Guyana with 14 cases.

Follow the Guidelines

The guidelines issued in February by the Department of Health are still in effect. These guidelines include a warning to all women that are pregnant or trying to become pregnant and who have traveled to Zika affected areas to be tested even with no symptoms. Zika virus infection can produce symptoms of fever and/or rash but can also produce zero symptoms.

Currently, pregnant women affected with Zika have a 1% – 29% of their baby being born with birth defects, including microcephaly. Zika virus is also associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare autoimmune syndrome that affected two people in New York City that were infected with Zika. They have since both recovered. Two other cases in New York City are thought to be a result of sexual transmission, which is a growing concern.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said during a conference last month that in the coming months, thousands of pregnant women in Puerto Rico could become infected. Currently, a race to create a Zika vaccine is slowly coming into fruition as two new vaccines have shown to fight the virus in animal models.

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