Zika: UAB Epidemiologists Recommend Pregnant Alabamians Not Travel to South American

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UAB epidemiologists are telling Alabamians there is low risk of a Zika outbreak developing in the state. The virus, which has flu-like symptoms, is currently spreading through parts of South and Central America. It’s also been associated with a rise in a rare birth defect. Dr. David Freeman of UAB is one of 12 members of the World Health Organization’s Emergency Committee on Zika. He says that Alabama will likely see more travel-related cases, but not home-grown.

“We just don’t have the densities of vectors and breeding conditions for the same rapid proliferation,” Freeman told the media Friday during a press conference.

Freeman says American doesn’t have high populations of the mosquitos that transmit the Zika virus. He says those same mosquitos transmit Dengue Fever and Chikungunya, diseases that have never spread widely in North America.

Alabama health officials confirmed the first travel-related case of the Zika virus earlier this week in Morgan County.

UAB’s David Freedman, M.D., a professor of infectious diseases and a leading expert on international medicine and emerging diseases, discusses the Zika virus, touching on who is at risk, how to prevent infection and the likelihood of an United States outbreak.