ALBANY, N.Y. — State health officials confirm three New Yorkers who had recently traveled outside the country have tested positive for the mosquito-born Zika virus.
Officials identified the three individuals in Queens, Nassau and Orange Counties Friday.
Officials wouldn’t say where the people had recently traveled, describing the locations as areas where the “virus transmission is ongoing.”
“There is virtually no risk of acquiring Zika virus in New York State at this time as the virus cannot be spread by casual contact with an infected person and mosquitoes are not active in cold winter months,” DOH Commissioner Howard Zucker said in a press release Friday.
“But since this is a time of year when people travel to warmer climates and countries where Zika virus is found, we are urging residents, especially pregnant women, to check all health advisories before traveling and take preventive measures when traveling to affected countries,” Zucker said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded its warning for pregnant women thinking of visiting 22 destinations, most in Latin America and the Caribbean where the weather is warmer during this time of the year.
These countries banned include Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Barbados, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, Guyana, Cape Verde and Samoa.
The virus has been linked with microcephaly which can leave affected newborns with unusually small heads and abnormal brain development.
Many people who’ve contracted the Zika virus don’t experience any symptoms, according to the New York state Department of Health. Only one in five people infected will get sick and experience fever, rash, joint pain or conjunctivitis.
There is currently no vaccine or medicine to treat Zika virus.
Officials say one of the patients is fully recovered and the two others are recovering without complications.
They say the cases were tested in the Wadsworth Laboratory in Albany.