Residents in 16 counties — Calhoun, Cullman, Etowah, Houston, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lee, Limestone, Madison, Mobile, Montgomery, Morgan, Shelby, St. Clair, Talladega and Tuscaloosa — have tested it positive for the virus.
“We have been working with a variety of partners, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the medical community, to identify individuals who need to be tested for the Zika virus and with those who have tested positive,” State Health Officer Dr. Tom Miller said in a press release. “Additional precautions are needed for pregnant women and women of childbearing age. Public health environmentalists have been helping communities reduce mosquito breeding grounds around their homes and communities.”
ADPH shared several tips on how to best protect yourself from mosquitoes and Zika virus:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- Stay and sleep in places with air conditioning or window and door screens
- Remove standing water
- Wear an Environmental Protection Agency-registered repellent
Zika virus is transmitted primarily through the bites of Aedes species mosquitoes and through sexual activity. Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly that is a sign of incomplete brain development. Doctors have also found other problems in pregnancies and among fetuses and infants infected with Zika virus before birth.
Currently, there is no vaccine or medicine for Zika. People infected with the Zika virus may have no symptoms, as it causes only mild symptoms in one out of five people. People usually do not get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected.
Alabama health officials say pregnant women should not travel to Zika-affected areas.
“If a pregnant woman must travel to one of these areas, she should discuss the trip with her healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during her travel.”