SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Zika patient treated and released from Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital



July 26, 2016
Tuesday AM

(SitNews) - The Alaska Division of Public Health detected a case of Zika virus infection in an adult man who contracted the illness while visiting Central America. The man is not an Alaska resident, but was visiting Alaska for work when he was evaluated for the illness at SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka.

“This case is not a concern in terms of the virus spreading through Alaska mosquitoes, but it does reinforce the importance of knowing preventative measures,” said Dr. Jay Butler, Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health. “The two-fold foundation for preventing Zika infection is avoiding mosquitoes and using repellants when traveling to areas where Zika is transmitted, and protecting yourself during sex by either abstaining when a partner is possibly infected with Zika, or by consistently and correctly using condoms.”

The man recently visited SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital experiencing symptoms associated with the Zika virus. His symptoms included a full-body rash, fever, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The Alaska State Public Health Laboratory detected Zika virus RNA in a blood specimen collected on July 18 while the patient was ill. The patient was not hospitalized and is now back home in the Midwest.

According to a news release from the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), the patient has returned home, and there is no chance the virus can affect the Sitka community. Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital staff have thoroughly disinfected the very limited area of the hospital in which the patient was treated and have taken all infection control precautions necessary to secure patient safety and environment of care for all staff and patients.

Alaska mosquitoes are not capable of transmitting Zika virus, so there is no risk of local mosquito-borne transmission.

On the Web:

Zika virus information




Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC)

Alaska Department of Health and Social Services




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