Maine Reports First Confirmed Case of Zika Virus

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A Maine man has tested positive for the Zika-virus, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.

The man is 65 or older and is from Hancock County, the agency said. He experienced symptoms after returning home from an unnamed Zika-affected country. Hospitalization was not required and he is now recovering at home.

The CDC said 25 samples for Maine residents who have traveled have been or are being tested, and this is the first positive test result. The first Massachusetts Zika virus case was confirmed last month.

"The common link to this virus is travel, and this finding is not  unexpected," said Dr. Siiri Bennett, Maine's state epidemiologist. "Several countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America are experiencing outbreaks and Mainers like to travel to warm places in the winter."

Bennett said there is no need for alarm, however, as the type of mosquito that transmits the Zika virus is not found in Maine. The Zika virus can, however, be transmitted through sexual contact from a male to his partner.

The World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control are investigating a potential link between the Zika virus and an increase in microcephaly, a birth defect in which the size of a baby's head is smaller than expected.

For this reason, the Maine CDC is recommending that all pregnant women and men who are sexually active with a woman who is pregnant or trying to become pregnant who have traveled to a Zika-affected area be tested for the virus.

Only one in five people infected with Zika show symptoms, and the symptoms resolve on their own. Symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis, muscle pain and headache.

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