Franklin County man tests positive for Zika virus - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Franklin County man tests positive for Zika virus

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FRANKLIN COUNTY, WA - The Benton Franklin Health District says a Franklin County man in his 30's has tested positive for the Zika virus after recently traveling to Mexico. 

"Local residents are not at risk for contracting Zika virus unless they travel to a Zika-affected area, including Central and South America, or have unprotected sexual relations with someone who has the virus," said Dr. Amy Person, Health Officer for Benton and Franklin Counties. 

The virus is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitos, but once a person is infected, the virus can be spread through sexual contact. The type of mosquito that carries the virus does not live in the Pacific Northwest. 

While most people who are infected by the virus have few or no symptoms, infection during pregnancy can result in severe birth defects- including microcephaly, which stunts children's brain development. It has also been implicated in miscarriages and diseases like Guillain-Barre, a neurological disorder that causes temporary paralysis. 

"Women who are pregnant or might become pregnant should avoid travel to areas with active Zika virus transmissions. Additionally, they should abstain from sex or use condoms if their partner has travelled to one of these areas," warned Dr. Person. 

Earlier this week, the CDC expanded its recommendations to include screening all pregnant women for possible exposure, either through travel or sex, and to test those who are at risk, whether they have symptoms of the virus or not. 

More information on Zika virus, including a map of areas with active Zika transmissions, can be found at