Womans says she contracted Zika via FL mosquito

Posted at 5:21 PM, Feb 11, 2016

A metro Detroit woman could be the first person in Michigan to have contracted the Zika virus -- and the first so far to have contracted it by a mosquito in the United States. She says she was bitten in Florida. 

The Grosse Pointe Farms woman is a patient at St. John Hospital in Michigan. She says doctors at St. John and officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe a mosquito bite she got last week in Florida may be the source.

Donna Sutton says she's been suffering flu-like symptoms along with pink eye for days, but it has not yet been confirmed that she has the Zika virus.

If she does have the Zika virus, she'll be facing a virus that currently has no cure or vaccine. She can only rely on rest, staying hydrated and basic fever medicine on her path to recovery. 

Though Sutton herself is not pregnant, the CDC warns of other cases in which the virus has caused serious harm to pregnant women - even leading to miscarriages and birth defects. There have been more than 3,000 cases of microcephaly among South American newborns, a huge spike for the region. Microcephaly is a condition resulting in abnormally small head size in infants, as well as other developmental side effects -- including death. Researchers suspect a link between microcephaly and Zika, but more research is required to prove the connection scientifically. 

The virus is believed to be sexually transmitted, as we saw in a case earlier this year in Texas. There are no confirmed cases of a female infecting a male, only vice versa. It is also reportedly possible to spread the virus with the exchange of saliva.

Officials have discovered Zika in some people who've died from respiratory problems in the past year, and Venezuela recently reported three deaths due to complications from the virus. 

There are currently 16 reported cases of Zika in Florida, three of which are right here in Hillsborough County. ABC News has reported as many as 72 total cases in the United States, but the CDC website shows only 52 confirmed cases as of the morning of February 12. All 52 cases are marked as travel-related on their website. This includes the sexually-transmitted case in Dallas in which the virus was spread by an infected traveler to a sexual partner.

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Pending confirmation from doctors and the CDC, Sutton's case would be the first to be contracted via mosquito in the United States. She would be case number 73.

The Zika virus was first discovered and isolated in Uganda in the mid-20th century. Zika is related to the dengue, chikungunya and West Nile viruses. Common symptoms include fatigue, chills and sweating, loss of appetite, skin rash and joint pain. The CDC says around 80 percent of cases will go unreported, and many won't even experience symptoms. 

The CDC continues to release more information on the Zika Virus. Click here for visit their website for more Zika virus information.


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