ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – There are currently 189 recorded cases of the Zika virus in New York State. New York City has the most at 135 cases.
Until Thursday, a case of Zika virus in Schenectady County was the only case in the Capital Region. But officials confirmed a case had been diagnosed in Albany County.
The New York State Health Department said the affected woman had recently traveled to a Zika affected region. They said she is not pregnant, which is an important concern since Zika can impact the brain development of an unborn baby.
Local doctors told NEWS10 ABC they were not too concerned about the newest case in Albany County.
“You should be more worried about going onto the Northway and getting hit by a drunk driver,” pediatrician Dr. James Saperstone said.
Saperstone said he won’t be concerned until mosquitoes carrying Zika are found in the United States.
“No one in this area, or really any area of this country, needs to worry about being bitten by a mosquito that carries the virus because we don’t have any evidence that the virus has infected mosquitoes that are in this country,” he said.
Saperstone also said there is a low likelihood of Zika-carrying mosquitoes coming to the Capital Region.
“The type of mosquito is very sensitive to cold weather, and we think that mosquito won’t go past New York City,” he said.
But Saperstone urged that anyone who is planning to have a family or is already pregnant to avoid traveling to Zika infected countries. If you have already made the trip, he suggested getting tested for the virus since it’s difficult to detect.
Studies also show Zika may also be transmitted sexually. Saperstone said to always use protection if you are being intimate with someone who visited an area affected by the virus.
“Use protection,” he said. “We know that it’s transmitted by blood, and generally infectious diseases that are transmitted by blood can be transmitted through sexual contact, so it’s common sense.”
The areas that have the mosquitoes carrying the virus include the Caribbean, parts of Central America and South America, and the Pacific Islands.
New York State has also established a Zika Information Helpline (1-888-364-4723), and a dedicated informational website.
Zika cases by county/area:
- NYC: 135
- Albany: 1
- Dutchess: 3
- Erie: 1
- Lewis: 1
- Monroe: 2
- Nassau: 13
- Niagara: 1
- Oneida: 2
- Onondaga: 2
- Ontario: 1
- Orange: 1
- Putnam: 1
- Rockland: 2
- Schenectady: 1
- Suffolk: 16
- Tompkins: 1
- Westchester: 5