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5 Reported Cases Of Zika Virus In NYS

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By Faith Jessie.
The World Health Organization declared the Zika virus and it's relation with birth defects a public health emergency of international concern.

The mosquito transmitted virus has spread rapidly in Latin America and the Caribbean infecting pregnant women causing a birth defect in babies which gives them smaller heads and brains.

Thirty cases of the virus have been reported in the US with 5 of those in New York State as a result of people traveling to these infected countries and being bit by the mosquitoes.

Symptoms of the virus include fever, a rash, and painful joints, but a local health official says the types of mosquitoes that carry the virus are not native to our area so the risk of contracting the virus locally is very low.

"If you were to develop those symptoms here and not have traveled then that is not going to do anything because that couldn't be it. But if you had returned from travel to a country that has transmission then we can do testing. We are one of the lucky states where our state lab has the testing," said Broome County Health Department Communicable Disease Nurse, Marianne Yourdon,

The New York State Department of Health has a Zika virus information hotline. That number is 1-888-364-4723.

The state will also will offer advanced lab testing for individuals with symptoms who have traveled to areas where Zika virus infection is ongoing.