Mia De Graaf, Daily Mail, May 19, 2016
A third case of the Zika virus has been confirmed in Tennessee, bringing the total number of American victims to 60.
The patient in Rutherford County contracted the disease while traveling internationally, according to a statement released by the state’s Health Department on Thursday.
Health officials have been concerned people infected in another country could transmit the virus to the local mosquito population, beginning the spread of Zika within Tennessee.
It is one of the states singled out as a significant risk for incubating Zika-carrying mosquitoes.
Zika often causes no symptoms or mild symptoms, but it can cause the serious birth defect microcephaly if a pregnant woman becomes infected.
The state Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner has told Tennesseans to protect themselves and their neighbors by dumping out standing water around their homes and using mosquito repellant.
Zika also can be transmitted sexually, possibly for several months after infection.
The first case diagnosed in Tennessee was in East Tennessee in February after the patient returned from South America.
A month later, doctors in Shelby County, West Tennessee, confirmed a second case. The victim had also recently returned from a country affected by Zika.
The only case in Alabama is in the border county in Tennessee Valley.
Mosquitoes carrying the virus have not yet been detected in the States, all cases are travel-related so far.
Twenty states have confirmed Zika cases, from California to New York. The most cases are in Florida (14) and Texas (11).
Health officials have issued warning of an impending health crisis as Americans head to South America for vacations, or to the Olympic Games in Brazil.
And Nasa has been helping the government to map out areas where Zika-carrying mosquitoes would thrive.
Tennessee has a moderate risk of a Zika outbreak, as do other States in the southern Midwest and the East Coast.
Florida–Miami in particular–has the highest risk of an outbreak, with high temperatures and static water for the mosquitoes to lay their eggs.
Urban areas also provide plenty of breeding sites, particularly artificial containers holding water.