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Post Date: Feb 05, 2016
The World Health Organization declared the Zika virus an international public health emergency on Monday.
Some cases have surfaced in North America.
Local officials say for pregnant women this disease is a bigger concern.
The Zika virus is spread primarily through the bite of an Aedes species mosquito.
According to the Center for Disease Control the illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for two to seven days.
Even with the short time of symptoms Doctor Obritsch with Mid Dakota clinic expresses concern.
"These symptoms are usually mild like fever, some joint pain, headache, however, in pregnancy,
the virus can cause significant harm to the fetus or to the baby resulting in the baby's head being smaller or what we call Microcephaly," says Obritsch.
When warmer weather arrives the CDC will be testing mosquitos for the Zika virus as well as other viruses like west nile.
The species of mosquito that carries the Zika virus isn't found in North Dakota
But the CDC wants to stay ahead of the disease.
"We don't have those mosquitos here. The concern is that the mosquitos even though we don't have those mosquitos the concern is that the virus could change and get into one of our hosts," says Maggie Kuklok.
Dr. Obritsch says the Zika virus isn't quite as serious as the West Nile virus.
"In this area it would be similar to, although not exactly like, but similar to the West Nile virus that we've heard a lot about in the past," says Dr. Obritsch.
The CDC says women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should postpone travel to places like the Caribbean and Latin America.
Zika has no vaccine at this time.
For more information on the Zika virus you can visit www.cdc.gov/zika/
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