Connecticut State Officials Prepare for Zika Cases

The state's Public Health Commissioner said Friday that the state will be ready to test and diagnose cases of Zika in about ten days.

Zika is the virus that has struck mainly South and Central American communities. It leads to severe birth defects in newborns. According to doctors, expectant mothers and their unborn are at the greatest risk.

US Sen. Richard Blumenthall, along with health professionals warned this week that those specific individuals are the ones the most at risk.

Blumenthal also urged the president in a letter today to devote more resources in order to speed up the development and production for a Zika vaccine.

“Our nation is at risk if people travel to those countries and so the investment that we have to make in research pays off not only for us but also for other countries" he said.

Doctors from Hartford Healthcare also laid out who is at the highest risk for exposure to Zika.

“It’s not blood-borne" said Dr. Andrew Borgida, the Chief of Obstentrics and Gynecology at Hartford Hospital. "It’s not transmittable person to person so pregnant women shouldn’t be concerned about any other contacts and pregnant women in Connecticut, if they haven’t traveled, are at really no risk."

If contracted by anyone who isn't pregnant, a rash or infection may occur, but in most individuals, they may not exhibit any symptoms.

Brazil has seen the most cases due in part to the fact there are several cities with garbage in the streets and there are areas with standing water, fruitful breeding ground for mosquitoes carrying Zika.

Later this year, approximately 200,000 Americans are expected to travel to Rio for the Summer Olympics.

Dr. Jack Ross, Chief of Infectious Disease for all of Hartford Healthcare, said if you're pregnant you shouldn't travel to Brazil, but everyone else should be in the clear.

“I think for the average person that will travel there, we will have a flu-like illness. We will be uncomfortable and I would not change my travel plans for the Brazil Olympics unless I were pregnant.”

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