AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Center for Disease Control announced Thursday it confirmed a person in Hancock County tested positive for the Zika virus.
The person, who is older than 65, recently traveled to a Zika-affected country and began experiencing symptoms after returning home. The traveler has not been hospitalized and is recovering at home, according to a CDC statement.
“The common link to this virus is travel, and this finding is not unexpected,” Dr. Siiri Bennett, Maine’s state epidemiologist, said. “Several countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America are experiencing outbreaks, and Mainers like to travel to warm places in the winter.”
Links between Zika and birth defects are being investigated by the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Maine CDC recommends pregnant women and men who are sexually active with a pregnant woman who have traveled to a Zika-affected area be tested for the virus.
Bennett said the report is not cause for widespread alarm.
“It’s important for the public to understand that the aedes mosquito that transmits the Zika virus is not found in Maine and that your neighbor who has come home from a trip to South America cannot transmit the virus to you,” Bennett said.
Twenty-five blood samples from Mainers who have traveled to Zika-infected areas have been tested to date, but only one has tested positive.
One in five people infected with Zika show symptoms, including fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis, according to the U.S. CDC. Symptoms typically are mild and resolve on their own.