Dozens of Zika virus cases in Lancaster County

Aedes aegypti mosquito
FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2016, file photo, an Aedes aegypti mosquito known to carry the Zika virus, is photographed through a microscope at the Fiocruz institute in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil. India has reported three cases of the Zika virus for the first time, including two pregnant women who delivered healthy babies. The World Health Organization said in a statement released Friday that the three cases that India reported to the WHO on May 15 were detected through routine blood surveillance in a hospital in Ahmadabad, Gujarat's capital. Two cases were detected in February and November last year, while a third case was detected in January this year. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Dozens of pregnant women in Lancaster County have been infected by or exposed to the Zika virus.

There have been more than 200 either confirmed or suspected cases of the virus in Pennsylvania since officials started keeping track last year.

Birth defects, most notably microcephaly, are associated with the virus. It is characterized by an abnormally small head and brain in the baby.

A spokeswoman with Lancaster General Health says they’ve seen 29 mothers who have been infected by or exposed to the virus. They have not seen any abnormalities among the babies born.

At Southeastern Lancaster Health Services, there have been ten confirmed cases of pregnant mothers with the virus since November.

“So far, we have not had any anomalies seen. But, the CDC recommends that we monitor for the first year, outpatient. Because, we are seeing a later delay in the anomalies, the effects, such as neurological problems,” said Brittany Hernandez, Zika Coordinator at Southeast Lancaster Health Services.

Lancaster County is one of more than 20 counties in the state monitoring the two types of mosquitoes known to carry the virus. Thousands of mosquitoes were tested for the virus last year, but all came back negative.

So far, all of the people with the virus in Pennsylvania have contracted it elsewhere or sexually.

“Use condoms, DEET spray. Wait at least six months until trying to conceive,” said Hernandez. “And that DEET spray mosquito repellent is just extremely important.”

The CDC has issued a travel alert for locations where mosquitoes could spread the virus to people, including Puerto Rico, which thousands of Lancaster County residents have ties to.

There is one U.S. location, Brownsville, Texas, on the list. Miami-Dade County, Florida was also on the list, but removed earlier this month.

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