The Rhode Island Department of Health says the first case of Zika virus has been confirmed in the state. The state health agency says the man is in his 60s and recently traveled to Haiti. That’s one of the countries where Zika transmission is active.
The agency says the risk to the public from this individual’s illness is low. But they’re coordinating with health care providers on how best to identify symptoms and educate patients about prevention.
The department has also convened a Zika task force to focus on Zika in pregnant women, should any cases arise in Rhode Island. Scientists writing in the New England Journal of Medicine recently confirmed that Zika causes brain damage in fetuses.
Officials do not expect any locally transmitted cases of Zika in Rhode Island because the mosquito that transmits the virus is not currently found here. However, there have been cases of suspected sexual transmission in other states.