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First case of Zika virus confirmed in Clay County

How Zika spreads (and who's to blame)

The mosquito kills nearly 750,000 people each year. Malaria is the cause for the majority of these deaths, but a Zika outbreak has the Americas scared of this insect. This is how the insect spreads disease to its victims
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The mosquito kills nearly 750,000 people each year. Malaria is the cause for the majority of these deaths, but a Zika outbreak has the Americas scared of this insect. This is how the insect spreads disease to its victims

Clay County public health officials announced Thursday that it has received confirmation of its first case of Zika in a male resident who had recently traveled outside the United States.

Officials aren’t disclosing where the man traveled to protect his privacy, except to say he traveled to an area of the Caribbean that is experiencing a Zika outbreak.

Although many areas of the U.S. have the type of mosquito that can become infected with and spread Zika, there have been no reported Zika cases contracted from a mosquito bite in Missouri, according to Clay County health officials.

There is only one neighborhood in Miami where Zika is being spread by mosquitoes in the U.S.

Because the first confirmed case involved travel, Clay County residents do not need to have immediate concern, said Aaron Smullin, a communications specialist with the Clay County Public Health Center.

He suggested, however, that people take steps to eliminate places on their property where mosquitoes could breed. That would include emptying and scrubbing or getting rid of any items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers and trash containers.

Zika is spread primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. Pregnant women can pass Zika to a fetus during pregnancy or at birth. Zika can also be spread during sex, so Clay County health officials urge people concerned about contracting the virus to abstain from sex or use condoms.

Robert A. Cronkleton: 816-234-4261, @cronkb

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