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WI woman tests positive for Zika virus after traveling to Central America

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A Wisconsin woman has tested positive for a Zika virus infection, health officials said Wednesday.

She had recently traveled to Honduras, where Zika-infected mosquitoes are present, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services said in a news release.

Although this is the first occurrence of the virus in Wisconsin, officials say they've been preparing by testing people who traveled to countries with known Zika transmission, and monitoring for mosquitoes with the virus.

"We will remain vigilant in our response to ensure the safety and health of all Wisconsinites, particularly pregnant women and unborn babies, who are most at risk," Health Officer Karen McKeown said in the release.

All US cases have come after travel

So far, none of the infections in the United States have been locally acquired – all 503 cases came after people had traveled, the CDC says.

When a Minnesota woman contracted Zika virus, the state's health department said there is “not a risk” of it spreading here because of the colder climate. The only way it’s likely to enter the state is through travelers being bitten when visiting infected countries, the department said.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel alert for anyone planning trips to areas where the virus has been reported, including: Africa, South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Locally-acquired cases have also been reported in the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Puerto Rico and The Virgin Islands, the CDC said.

Symptoms of the virus

80 percent of people infected with the virus have no symptoms, according to

Most others typically have mild issues, such as fever, joint soreness, rash or red eyes – but the disease can be very dangerous for pregnant women and their unborn babies.

There is believed to be a link between pregnant women who are infected with the Zika virus and microcephaly – a birth defect where a baby has an abnormally small head and brain, the CDC says.

There is no medication to treat Zika virus disease and no vaccine is currently available.

Efforts to fight the spread of Zika

The Senate approved $1.1 billion in funding to help fight the spread of the Zika virus, the Washington Post said on Tuesday. But House Republicans don't want to approve the funds unless they are offset with cuts elsewhere in the budget, the Post said.

CNN said scientists have cloned the Zika virus for the first time, which may help them develop a vaccine.

Sen. Al Franken has also made efforts to encourage drug companies to find a cure.

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