Zika Virus in South Carolina

According to the CDC, as of July 3, 2018 there have been 28 cases of Zika reported in the United States, and none reported in South Carolina. In all 28 cases, the patients with Zika were returning home from traveling in affected areas, not from mosquito-borne transmission in the US. SCDHEC also confirms that there have been zero Zika cases reported in South Carolina in 2018.

Protecting Yourself from Zika

While the threat of Zika is lower in 2018 than previous years, it is still important to understand your risks and know how to protect yourself – especially if you plan on traveling to an affected area.

The Zika virus is mainly spread though mosquito bites. Zika can spread from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy or birth, and cases of transmission through blood transfusion and sexual contact have been reported.

Protecting yourself from mosquitos is the best way to prevent Zika:

  • Use insect repellent
  • Wear clothes than cover the arms and legs
  • Use screens on windows and doors
  • Use air conditioning if available
  • Sleep under a mosquito net if outdoors or air conditioned/screened rooms are not possible
  • Empty items that hold water at least once a week (buckets, pools, pots, other containers)

When traveling to areas inside or outside of the US, know your risks before you go:

  • Review the CDC’s list of areas with Zika risk
  • Talk with your doctor about your travel plans
  • Talk with your partner about travel plans and Zika risk (especially for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant), use condoms or don’t have sex to avoid getting or spreading the Zika virus

Zika Symptoms

The most common Zika symptoms are generally mild, including fever, rash, headache, joint pain, red eyes, and muscle pain. People typically do not need to go to the hospital with a Zika infection, because they likely do not even realize they’ve been infected. For pregnant women, Zika can cause a birth defect called microcephaly and other severe brain defects in unborn children. Learn more about Zika and Pregnancy from the CDC.

If you have traveled to an area with risk of Zika and are feeling similar symptoms, it is important to be tested by your doctor.

MUSC Health Doctors Near You in Charleston, SC

If you are concerned about upcoming travel or have Zika symptoms, schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor, ob/gyn, or talk with the MUSC Health Travel Medicine care team. Our women's health and primary care physicians are available in locations throughout the Lowcountry.