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Should Montanans be Concerned about Zika Virus?

04-14-2016

The Zika virus has been confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to cause brain defects in babies, but since it carried by mosquitos not found in Montana, should locals be concerned?

“Definitely yes,” said Mark Winton, MD, infectious diseases specialist at Bozeman Health Internal Medicine. “The first case in Montana was diagnosed this February in a Missoula woman who had traveled to a Zika-infected area. We will be seeing it here in more people who travel to the infected area.”

Zika causes microcephaly, or abnormally small heads in babies, most often caused by bites to pregnant women from mosquitos found primarily in South and Central America. “We don’t have that mosquito here, and it will probably be years before they make it up here,” Dr. Winton added, “so the best way to protect yourself is, simply, don’t go where Zika is, especially if you are pregnant.”

Zika cannot be transmitted in casual person-to-person contact, Dr. Winton said, but it can be passed on through sexual contact, so women planning on getting pregnant or who are pregnant also should avoid having sex with a partner who has recently travelled to a Zika-affected area.
Categories: Deaconess