Zika Virus Case Confirmed in Hocking County

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Hocking County has confirmed its first case of Zika virus, contracted by a man who traveled to a region of South America, according to health officials.

“He showed symptoms and sought care, and was tested because of his travel history,” said Doug Fisher, Hocking County Health Commissioner.

Although the man, whose name has not been released, is still recovering, Fisher said the risk of the virus spreading because of the confirmed case is not a major concern.

“We consider this to be very low risk to no risk,” Fisher said.

The Hocking County Health Department is staying in contact with the man and making sure his recovery is going as planned. He said the department is also helping the family make their home mosquito-proof, something he encourages all residents to do.

“We are going to make sure we do our due diligence, such as larva sightings and educating the public, but (community members) also need to protect themselves,” Fisher said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released prevention methods for Zika, which includes using mosquito repellent as directed, dressing in clothing that covers arms and legs, covering strollers and baby carriers with netting, and repairing holes in screens around homes.

Keeping grass mowed and removing standing water from properties can also help keep mosquitoes that could harbor the virus away. Children’s pools, bird baths, tires and buckets can create an environment that will attract mosquitoes, Fisher said.

“It’s also important to make sure your gutter system is draining properly,” Fisher said. “That’s something people don’t think about because it’s above us, but there can be water sitting there that can attract mosquitoes, too.”