Pregnant North Dakota woman tests positive for Zika virus


A pregnant woman in North Dakota has tested positive for the Zika virus.

The woman contracted the virus while on vacation in Puerto Rico, according to a news release from the North Dakota Department of Health. The agency plans to monitor the infant for a year as a precaution.

Earlier this month, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Zika virus does in fact cause microcephaly (a birth defect that causes an abnormally small head and brain) and other severe fetal brain defects that are sometimes seen in newborns of mothers who contract the virus.

ND to test mosquitoes

North Dakota health officials will begin trapping and testing mosquitoes for the virus this summer, reported the Bismarck Tribune. The state has about 100 mosquito trapping sites that were previously used for West Nile and other viruses, which will now be used to test for Zika.

“We’re not expecting to find any positive mosquitoes,” State Epidemiologist Michelle Feist told the paper. “I don’t want people to think because we’re testing that we’re expecting to find any positives; we’re not. But I think it’s important that we have that capability here if we need it.”

It is extremely unlikely that a mosquito with Zika will reach North Dakota or Minnesota, but they might come to the southern and eastern parts of the U.S. as the weather get warmer later this year, according to a risk map published by NASA.

Experts warned that the map shows how more than two billion people are at risk for contracting the virus, said the Daily Mail.

Lawmakers debate increasing funds to fight virus

Earlier this week, Senate Republicans and Democrats in Washington, D.C. debated the urgency to approve $1.9 million in emergency funding to combat the virus, reported the Wall Street Journal.

The virus, which is carried and transmitted by mosquitoes, has no cure and is widespread in Mexico and Central and South America with over 40 countries and territories reporting transmission.

In February, the World Health Organization declared Zika a public health emergency of international concern.

In January, a woman from Anoka County contracted the virus after a trip to Central America, but was not hospitalized and was expected to make a full recovery. That is the only confirmed case of the Zika virus in the Minnesota.

Some travel agencies in Minnesota began canceling trips that month as well.

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