First Case Of Zika Virus In Boston Is Confirmed

BOSTON — A Boston resident has been diagnosed with the mosquito-borne Zika virus, the Boston Public Health Commission confirmed Thursday.

The patient, who contracted the virus while traveling abroad, is expected to make a full recovery, BPHC said in a statement.

“The vast majority of people who contract Zika do not get seriously ill, and recover quickly when they do,” Scott Zoback, spokesman for the BPHC, said in a statement.

The Zika virus, which has been found in Africa, Southeast Asia, South America and the Pacific Islands, is spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising pregnant women to avoid traveling to countries where the virus is present because there are concerns it may be linked to severe birth defects.

“The species of mosquito that transmits Zika is rarely found in Boston,” Dr. Anita Barry, director of the Infectious Disease Bureau at BPHC, said in a statement. “However, we encourage those traveling to countries with a high risk for Zika transmission — especially those who are pregnant or may become pregnant — to take the utmost care to avoid contracting the virus.”

Earlier Thursday, the head of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, said the virus has escalated from being “a mild threat to one of alarming proportions,” NPR reported.

For more information on the virus, visit the BPHC fact sheet.

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