• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Local woman is state's 7th confirmed Zika case

Last week the Woodford County Health Department reported that a Woodford County resident was the seventh person in Kentucky to contract the Zika Virus. The Sun got in touch with her, and she agreed to an interview. For the purpose of this article, we shall refer to her as Dana. Dana returned from her vacation in the Eastern Caribbean in late June. About three days later, she began running a low-grade fever and experiencing body aches. After work the following Monday, she went to an urgent treatment center to get checked out and take a blood test. "I kind of had a feeling that I had it. The blood test takes longer than other diagnostic tests for viruses because they have to grow a culture in a Petri dish," she said. "They told me it would be at least four or five days, and I actually didn't find out that I was positive until July 5." Before the confirmed diagnosis, she'd also come down with a mild rash on her arms and legs, as well as joint pain in her hands and feet. The only symptom she didn't have common to Zika sufferers was conjunctivitis (red eyes), she said. Because Zika is a virus, there was no medicine they could give Dana. She had to wait it out. By Independence Day, she was free of all symptoms, but still had to do everything possible to ensure she didn't get bitten by a local mosquito that could potentially transmit the virus to another person. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of July 13, no cases of locally acquired mosquito-borne cases of Zika have been reported. All 1,306 U.S.-confirmed cases have been acquired while traveling abroad, except one that was acquired in a laboratory. "I was advised to wear mosquito repellent for three weeks," she said, adding that she'll continue to so until late this month. "It really didn't make that much of an impact, except I did notice that first full week, coming back from vacation and going back to work, that I was a bit less energetic than usual," Dana said. She said she believed she may have been bitten by the Zika-infected mosquito on a hike up a small mountain, but isn't sure. "That may have been where it happened. It was very hot and kind of tropical and there were bugs. Mostly, we stayed at the beach and there was a nice breeze. I don't remember experiencing bug bites at the beach, so it might have been when we went on that hike," she said. Dana said even before the test results showed her suspicions were correct, she'd begun wearing mosquito repellent. Her research showed only 20 percent of the people testing positive for Zika display symptoms. After Dana's diagnosis, the Woodford County Health Department assessed her yard and left materials explaining how to keep mosquitoes from laying their eggs there. A state crew was also supposed to spray in the area, she said. "For an otherwise healthy person, it really wasn't that big of a deal. It was mostly annoying - the joint pain and the rash and stuff, but it's not like you're lying in bed for a week. It's pretty mild," she said, adding that she didn't miss a day of work because of it. "The big concern, of course, is for women who get it when they're pregnant and the devastating birth defects (microcephaly) that might result."

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