State officials today reported the second confirmed case of Zika in Hawaii.
The individual, a Kauai resident, had recently traveled to Latin America and may still be infectious, state health officials said. They advised the person to stay indoors and to protect themself from mosquitoes. No other information about the individual will be made available in order to protect medical privacy, according to the health department.
A Vector Control team will be sent to the person’s home to determine if treatment to control mosquitoes is needed, the health department said.
“As Zika continues to spread in multiple regions across the world, we anticipate that we will experience an increase in imported cases and must take precautionary measures to reduce our risk for an outbreak in Hawaii,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler.
“There are several simple steps that we can take as a community to accomplish this, such as getting rid of standing water around our homes to reduce mosquito breeding sites and using repellant or protective clothing to prevent mosquito bites. It is crucial that we keep these practices top-of-mind as we prepare for travel in and out of the state, especially to areas that may be affected by Zika and other mosquito-borne illnesses.”
The World Health Organization last month declared the explosive spread of Zika in the Americas to be a global emergency, due to its link to the spike in the number of babies born with abnormally small heads and the rise in a rare neurological syndrome that can cause paralysis and death. Most people who catch Zika only experience mild symptoms like fever, skin rash and muscle pain. There is currently no licensed treatment or vaccine.
So far, Zika has triggered outbreaks in 41 countries, although confirmed cases linking Zika to babies with birth defects have only been seen in Brazil and French Polynesia. Nine countries have reported a spike in cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological condition that typically affects people after infections.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.