Oklahoma’s State Department of Health (OSDH) has stepped up its attempts to canvas the state for possible cases of the deadly Zika virus despite the threat level remaining relatively low, officials announced from Oklahoma City recently.
OSDH continues to coordinate its efforts with other jurisdictions in battling this rare but potentially debilitating virus and issuing common-sense guidelines to residents, having confirmed four travel-related cases in Oklahoma citizens via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Transmitted through sexual contact or a bite from an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito, the Zika virus is most hazardous for pregnant women who may miscarry or give birth to babies afflicted with microcephaly and other birth defects. One challenging aspect of the disease is that it can be quite asymptomatic in many carriers.
Although Zika is not viewed as locally transmitted, the OSDH warns travelers returning from Zika-prone areas to take precautions and see a doctor if they show any symptoms such as fever, rash, muscle and joint aches and red eyes.
“We are recommending that individuals returning from travel to areas where Zika virus has been identified to consult with their physician if they exhibit any of the symptoms associated with the disease, particularly women who are pregnant,” Dr. Kristy Bradley, Oklahoma's state epidemiologist, said.