The Delaware Division of Public Health recently announced a fourth Zika case involving a Delaware resident.

The Delaware Division of Public Health recently announced a fourth Zika case involving a Delaware resident.

Like the three other cases, the person acquired the illness from a mosquito bite while traveling abroad. The first three cases announced in February and March were New Castle County residents. The fourth case involved a Kent County resident. None of the Delaware residents are considered infectious if they are bitten by a mosquito that then bites another person. The virus leaves the blood after about a week, and all current Delaware cases are two weeks to several months old. There have been no confirmed cases of transmission by a local mosquito bite anywhere in the U.S. Pregnancy is not a factor in any of the four Delaware cases.

“We are not surprised at a fourth Delaware case given the amount of global travel these days, and we expect more to come,” said DPH Director Karyl Rattay. “It simply reinforces the message that taking mosquito bite prevention steps while abroad is very important. The illness continues to show no symptoms in the majority of people, and symptoms are generally mild for those who do become ill. However, pregnant women and their male partners with a travel history to the countries with Zika should be especially concerned and take precautions because of the potentially very serious birth defects linked to the disease.”

While much less common, Zika also can be spread by men via vaginal, anal and oral sexual activity. DPH recommended condom use for men who have been diagnosed with Zika virus or have symptoms for at least six months after symptoms first appeared.

DPH recently announced new Zika public education materials targeting pregnant women and their male partners, including offering prevention kits to pregnant women. The kits will be distributed at Delaware Women, Infants and Children clinics and other locations. Recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the kits will contain mosquito repellent, condoms, thermometers and informational brochures. DPH will offer updated information and links to educational materials at dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/zika.html.

In addition, travel and transmission advisories were provided:

• If you are pregnant, postpone travel to the countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. If your male sexual partner has traveled to or lives in an area with active Zika virus transmission, condoms should be used for the duration of the pregnancy. Discuss your male partner’s potential exposures and history of Zika-like illness with your doctor.

• If you are trying to become pregnant and have been diagnosed with Zika virus or have symptoms of Zika, wait at least eight weeks after symptoms first appeared before trying to conceive. Men who have been diagnosed with Zika virus or have symptoms are advised to wait at least six months after symptoms first appeared before having vaginal, oral or anal unprotected sex.

• Men and women who do not have symptoms of Zika, but had possible exposure through recent travel or sexual contact, should wait at least eight weeks after possible exposure before trying to conceive to minimize risk.

• If your male partner lives in an area with active Zika transmission but has not developed symptoms, use condoms for vaginal, oral or anal sex while there is active Zika virus transmission in the area.

• If you are pregnant or may become pregnant and must travel to an area with Zika, talk to your doctor first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip. If you traveled to an area with active Zika virus transmission up to eight weeks before your pregnancy was confirmed, discuss your travel history with your doctor.

A total of 109 Delawareans have or will be tested for Zika; 84 of those tested negative. The other 25 test results are still pending, 16 of whom are pregnant.

To report a potential Zika illness or receive further guidance on patient testing, call 744-4990.