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Health & Science

Northeast Ohio Prepares for Zika

photo of mosquito

Though the risk of contracting the mosquito-borne Zika virus isn’t high in Northeast Ohio, area hospitals are preparing to detect and treat the disease. 

Zika has spread through South America and the Caribbean and is widely believed to cause serious birth defects. Two Zika cases have been confirmed in Northeast Ohio in people who traveled here from those areas. The disease isn’t highly contagious and doesn’t require quarantine like the potentially deadly Ebola virus that made its way to Northeast Ohio in  2014. But Chairman of the Cleveland Clinic’s infectious disease department, Dr. Steven Gordon, says they’re monitoring the latest Zika data.

“Right now the focus is really on education and identifying potential people who may have been at risk in terms of traveling in a Zika area that may or may not have been pregnant at the time.”

Gordon says the best way to prevent Zika locally is through mosquito control efforts now used to keep diseases like West Nile virus in check.