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Man Who Traveled To Caribbean Confirmed As Second Zika Virus Case In CT

State Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Raul Pino
State Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Raul Pino Photo Credit: File

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — The Connecticut Department of Public Health confirmed Friday that a second patient living in Connecticut has tested positive for Zika virus.

DPH officials said they were informed Friday by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene that a Connecticut man tested positive for the virus after returning from a trip to a Zika-affected area in the Caribbean. He developed a rash one day after his return, but no other symptoms were reported, DPH said.

"Today’s test result highlights the need for everyone to take precautions if they are traveling to areas affected by Zika," DPH Commissioner Raul Pino said. "While this virus is particularly dangerous for the babies of pregnant women, men need to be just as vigilant so that they don’t transmit the virus to their partners through sexual contact."

To date, 388 cases of Zika have been reported in 41 states and the District of Columbia. Of those, 33 were pregnant women and another eight were sexually transmitted. In Connecticut, 220 patients, including 204 pregnant women, have been tested for Zika virus. Friday’s result is the second positive test in Connecticut. The first patient, a non-pregnant female, has since recovered from her illness.

In January, Gov. Dannel Malloy directed DPH to test for Zika virus. While this particular test was done by NYC Health officials, the Connecticut DPH Laboratory has been approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to perform two separate levels of testing for the Zika virus, giving patients and their physicians the ability to receive test results in a matter of days.

Before this approval, specimens were sent to the CDC for testing, with an average turnaround of three to four weeks.

"We encourage those concerned about symptoms to consult their doctor, particularly if they have traveled to an affected area and particularly if they are pregnant. We have been actively taking steps for months to prepare for a positive case, including expedited testing and a coordinated response across agencies," Malloy said. "While the risk of transmission is low, we are nevertheless no doubt continuing that preparation to the extent that we can."

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