Pierce County’s first case of the Zika virus has been detected in a man who recently traveled to Puerto Rico, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department said Monday.
The man, who is in his 20s, returned from Puerto Rico on Wednesday (July 13), Health Department spokeswoman Edie Jeffers said.
The man, who was not identified, was not hospitalized and is recovering from his symptoms, according to a Health Department statement.
He is the 12th known case of Zika in Washington state, all of which are associated with travel to regions where Zika cases are spreading.
The virus is known to be transmitted by bites from infected mosquitoes, sexual contact and blood transfusions, and can be passed from a mother to a fetus.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday that of 1,306 cases reported in U.S. states — more are reported in tropical U.S. territories, including Puerto Rico — the only case that wasn’t associated with travel was a laboratory transmission in Pennsylvania.
On Monday, the Utah Department of Health disclosed it doesn’t know how a man there became infected without traveling to a region where Zika circulates. The man, according to the department, had helped care for a person infected with Zika through travel.
In the mainland United States, the two mosquito species known to be capable of carrying the virus have mainly been found in southern states.
“The risk of Zika is extremely low in Pierce County,” Nigel Turner, the Health Department’s communicable disease division director, said in the news release. “The mosquitoes that carry it are not found here and public health testing and reporting protocols control emerging diseases.”
One in five people infected with Zika show symptoms, which can include fever, pain, rashes and red eyes, usually for a few days, the Health Department said.
Zika infection during pregnancy can cause severe birth defects, including microcephaly.
As of July 7, CDC’s U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry listed nine cases of babies born with possible Zika-related birth defects, and another six lost pregnancies with the defects.