JACKSON, Miss. — The Mississippi State Department of Health is reporting two new cases of the Zika virus, including one in Lafayette County.
The other confirmed case was found in a resident of Madison County.
This brings the total of Zika cases found in the state this year up to 16.
In both new cases, the patients had recently traveled to Nicaragua, according to the MSDH.
Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that has recently spread throughout about 30 countries, mostly in the Caribbean and Central and South America. Mosquitos that can carry Zika have not been found in Mississippi for the past few decades, but the MSDH is currently watching mosquito populations in the state.
Death from Zika is very rare, and most who get the virus have mild or no symptoms, but it can cause serious birth defects if pregnant women contract it. As such, pregnant women or women who may get pregnant in the near future should avoid traveling to countries with Zika transmission and should avoid or use protection during sex with someone who has recently returned from a country with Zika.
The MSDH Public Health Laboratory is equipped to test for Zika.