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Nine Cases Of Zika Virus Confirmed In Arizona

Zika virus
(Photo courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
A digitally-colorized transmission electron micrograph of Zika virus.

Health officials confirmed the number of Arizonans with Zika has grown to nine. Last week, the state had just seven cases.

All of the patients acquired the virus by traveling to Zika-infected areas. Branch Chief for Public Health Preparedness at the Arizona Department of Health Services Jessica Rigler said if you’re visiting Central or South America, it’s important to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

“Even more important, is when you come back from one of those areas to Arizona, that you protect yourself from mosquito bites for at least three weeks after you return,” Rigler said. “That’ll help, in case you are infected with Zika, to prevent our Arizona mosquitos from contracting the disease and spreading it to other people here in the state.”

Rigler said wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants, using mosquito repellent, and closing windows and doors can protect from mosquitoes.

“The concern at this time would be anyone who is traveling to a Zika-infected area,” Rigler said, “but if you’re here, you’re staying in Arizona, the risk of getting Zika is very low.”

Nonetheless, she said protecting yourself from mosquitoes no matter where you are is a good idea.

The Zika virus is characterized by a mild rash and fever.

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Katy Burge was an intern at KJZZ in 2016.