ADPH evaluating a small number of people for Zika virus in Alabama

Local News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Alabama Department of Public Health told WIAT that a small number of people are being evaluated for the Zika virus in Alabama which is thought to be linked to serious birth defects.

As the CDC tracks the spread of the Zika virus which doctors believe is linked to birth defects, state health officials are asking doctors in Alabama to be on alert.

Dee W Jones with the Alabama Department of Public Health tells WIAT 42 News that ADPH is working with doctors to evaluate some possible cases.

“Less than five people are being evaluated. We‘re working with physicians on a case by case basis evaluating patients,” said Jones.  “This is probably just beginning so we expect more to come. We don’t necessarily think that it’s insignificant because it’s a small number.”

The type of mosquito that carries Zika is present in Alabama, but at this point there are no known cases of the disease in the state, according to Jones.

ADPH is telling doctors that all pregnant women who have recently traveled to places where the Zika virus is known to be circulated by mosquitos should be evaluated for the disease. Any travelers who have symptoms should be evaluated as well, according to Jones.

The CDC says that the Zika virus will continue to spread and it will be difficult determine how it will spread over time.

“We know many people are concerned or scared and we want to answer your questions with what we do know now. Zika is not a new virus, but what we are seeing in the Americas right now is new,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of the Centers for Disease Control.

The CDC reports are 20 countries with confirmed cases of Zika and two U.S. Territories, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The only cases in the continental United States involve patients who traveled to countries where the disease is actively being spread by mosquitos.

Doctors say only 1 in 5 people infected with Zika will get sick.

The symptoms usually start 2 to 7 days after the person is bitten by an infected mosquito include fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes), according to the CDC.

The agency explains that for most people who contract the illness the symptoms are very mild and people may not know that they’re infected, but it poses a huge concern for pregnant women and their unborn children.

The CDC says lab tests strongly suggest a link to the current outbreak of Zika in Brazil to an explosion the in number of cases of a typically rare birth defect called myocephaly.

Myocephaly is a condition in which a baby’s head is smaller than normal.

There are also reports of other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected during pregnancy, according to the CDC.

The agency also reports an increase in a rare neurological disorder Guillain Barre in Brazil which may be linked to Zika. Guillain Barre causes a person’s own immune system to attack nerve cells which can lead to paralysis and nerve damage lasting for weeks or months, according to the CDC.

Dr. Stacie Lynn Ginsberg of Chilton Urgent Care says that

The virus is spread by a mosquito.  There are 20 countries with confirmed cases of Zika.

The only cases in the continental United States are people who went to countries where the disease is actively being spread by mosquitos, but there are limited cases in two U.S. Territories, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

According to the CDC there have been reports of a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly.

That’s a condition in which a baby’s head is smaller than normal.

There are also reports of other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected during pregnancy, according to the CDC.

The Alabama Department of Public Health issued a Health Action Notice to doctors across the state regarding the Zika virus.

Dr. Stacie Lynn Ginsberg of Chilton Urgent Care in Clanton says the emerging health threat is particularly terrifying for pregnant women.

“They’re finding that the babies that are being born are having severe birth defects, brain damage, and this is a major complication of this virus,” said Ginsberg. “It doesn’t do major to the host, the person who has the virus, but the babies that are being born just, it’s awful what’s happening.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Become a CBS 42 Coffee Club Member

CBS 42 is a proud sponsor of the *Havana Nights* Autism Shines Gala

CBS 42 is a proud Sponsor of Boiling-N-Bragging

Trending Stories