Prevention and Wellness

Zika Mosquitos Not in Ohio – Yet

What we know about the mosquito-born Zika virus keeps improving as scientists and health officials study the disease and learn more about how it affects our bodies, especially pregnant women and their babies.

Women in their child-bearing years – and their partners – should take precautions, says David McKenna, MD, Perinatal Partners physician, but should not be fearful about becoming pregnant.

Common Questions About the Zika Virus

Is the Zika virus in Ohio?

Yes, there are confirmed cases of Zika virus in Ohio. These people became infected while traveling to areas outside the United States, where the Zika virus is prevalent. Mosquitos that carry the Zika virus are not currently located in Ohio.

Where is the Zika virus most active?

The Zika virus and the mosquitos that carry it are active in Mexico, Central and South America, Brazil, the Caribbean, Puerto Rico and Haiti. It is also present in several African countries.

Why are health officials concerned?

The mosquitos that carry Zika virus have reached the United States. When mosquitos bite an infected person, they can start a local outbreak. Zika virus can cause microencephaly (small head and brain size) and other severe fetal brain defects, say scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How does the Zika virus spread?

The Zika virus is transmitted in three ways:

  • By mosquito bite. The Aedes mosquito carries the Zika virus.
  • From a pregnant mother to her fetus. The Zika virus crosses the placenta during pregnancy, passes from a pregnant mother to her baby. Zika can also transfer from mother to baby during the birthing process.
  • During sex. An infected man can transmit Zika virus to sexual partners through his semen.

Can I be tested for Zika virus?

Yes, blood tests can confirm a Zika infection in the first week after exposure. People infected with the virus are contagious for about seven days. The Zika virus leaves the blood stream in about a week, but it remains in urine and semen for at least two months and maybe longer.

How can I protect myself from mosquito bites and the Zika virus?

  • Use mosquito repellant that contains DEET on your skin and/or clothes.
  • Wear long sleeves and long pants.
  • Avoid travel to areas with a known Zika outbreak.
  • Practice safe sex.
  • Remove any standing water from your yard.

The Aedes mosquito does not travel far, with a range of about 500 meters (0.31 miles), says the World Health Organization.

“If you get bit, the mosquito that did it likely came from your yard or an adjacent yard,” McKenna says. “That’s why it is important to take care of and avoid standing water.”

If you have questions about the Zika virus and keeping you and your family healthy, be sure to talk with your doctor or health care provider.

Source: David McKenna, MD, Perinatal Partners; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; World Health Organization

Content Updated: August 18, 2016

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