First case of Zika virus diagnosed in Connecticut

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Max Bibicoff, Staff Writer

On March 18, 2016, the Connecticut state Department of Public Health (DPH) said that the first case of the Zika virus had been reported in Connecticut. This made Connecticut the 34th state to have had recorded cases of the virus.

The patient, a woman in her 60s, recently traveled to an area of South America that had been affected by the Zika virus. Upon return, she began showing symptoms such as a skin rash, conjunctivitis, fatigue, chills, headache and muscle aches. The patient is reportedly currently in recovery according to NBC Connecticut.

Despite the virus being close to home, Sam Chinitz ’16 expressed a lack of concern for the risk of transmission.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily that big of a deal,” Chinitz said. “As long as you’re not a soon-to-be or currently pregnant woman, it’s probably not that significant of a worry.”

Since Feb. 1, 2016, when the World Health Organization declared the Zika virus a public health emergency of international concern, the virus has continued to spread. The disease has been actively transmitted in most of Central America and in regions of South America. While the virus is transmitted primarily through infected mosquitoes, sexual contact and blood transfusions also pose a risk of transmission.

In February, Governor Dannel Malloy worked with state officials to put forth a plan to respond to the outbreak of the virus. Moreover, a state DPH laboratory was approved to begin testing for Zika. Of the 198 samples received for testing, 67 results have been returned with this case being the first positive result.

Stating her confidence in the state’s safety measures, Rachel Wolfe ’18 said that “people shouldn’t be living their lives in fear,” and that “there are [already] enough precautions [in place] in Connecticut.”