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You Have Little Chance of Contracting Zika Virus: City Health Commissioner

By Trevor Kapp | January 28, 2016 3:59pm
 Three New Yorkers have been diagnosed with the mosquito-borne Zika Virus, officials said.
Three New Yorkers have been diagnosed with the mosquito-borne Zika Virus, officials said.
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DNAinfo/Trevor Kapp

CITY HALL — The city is upping its efforts to protect New Yorkers after three people in the city — including a pregnant woman — were diagnosed with the mosquito-borne Zika Virus in recent weeks, officials said Thursday.

The virus, which is known to cause birth defects — including a smaller head and brain — has mostly been reported in Africa, South Asia and Polynesia, but recent outbreaks have appeared in Central and South America as well.

"We want to make sure that we stress and emphasize that women who are pregnant or are thinking about becoming pregnant…delay their travels to any country where Zika transmission is currently happening," Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Herminia Palacio said.

A Queens woman was diagnosed with the Virus Wednesday, and four other cases across the state have been reported.

The Centers for Disease Control issued a travel advisory last week recommending pregnant women avoid visiting countries like Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, where the virus is most prevalent.

Palacio and Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said the mosquito species responsible for transmission is not in the city, but urged pregnant women returning from these countries get checked out.

"Mosquitoes are not active in the winter months, so here in New York City, there's really virtually no risk of transmission of Zika,” Bassett said

Symptoms of the disease include fever, rash and vomiting, and are only exhibited in one in five people.

Bassett urged New Yorkers traveling to warmer climates to escape the cold head north  this winter instead.

"New York City residents travel a lot," she said. "This might be a good winter to think about a vacation in the Catskills."