Multiple pregnant women in York tested positive for Zika

David Weissman
York Dispatch
This 2006 photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito in the process of acquiring a blood meal from a human host. Scientists believe the species originated in Africa but came to the Americas on slave ships. It has continued to spread through shipping and airplanes. Now it's found through much of the world. (James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP)

At least four women in York County have tested positive during their pregnancies for the Zika virus.

WellSpan spokesman Will Lavery said the number of pregnant women who have tested positive for the virus — which can lead to a higher probability of birth defects in newborns — has been tracked at its facilities since November.

All four women have since given birth, and none of the newborns tested positive for Zika, Lavery said.

Zika is primarily spread to a person via mosquito bite, though it also can spread through sexual contact from an infected partner, according to the state Department of Health.

Most people infected report no symptoms or mild symptoms, including fever, rash and joint pain.

If a pregnant woman is infected with Zika, however, there is a greater risk that her baby will be born with birth defects, including microcephaly, where the baby's head is smaller than expected.

There are currently no vaccines or medications available to treat or prevent the virus, but getting extra rest and drinking plenty of fluids are recommended, according to the department.

Since 2015, the department has identified 180 cases of Zika virus disease and 44 Zika virus infections in the state. Disease cases represent people with symptoms who test positive, while infection cases represent people without symptoms who test positive.

The department does not provide county-specific numbers, nor does it specify how many cases involved pregnant women.

All cases in the state thus far have involved travelers returning from areas where Zika is common, and no local transmission cases have been identified.

The department advises that the best way to prevent Zika is avoiding mosquito bites through tactics including: using an EPA-registered insect repellent, emptying or routinely changing standing water outside the home and wearing long sleeves and pants while outdoors.