LITTLE ROCK - Twelve cases of the Zika virus have now been confirmed in Arkansas, the state Health Department said Wednesday.
All 12 cases involved people who had recently traveled outside of the United States, agency spokeswoman Meg Mirivel said. The most recent cases include one confirmed last week involving a person who had traveled to the Caribbean and two confirmed this week involving people who had traveled to Central America, she said.
The virus’ symptoms are usually mild, but Zika has been identified as a cause of congenital microcephaly and other birth defects. The virus is spread through mosquito bites and sexual contact, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We’re still encouraging pregnant women to not travel to any areas where mosquitoes are spreading Zika, which is not the case inside the United States except for areas in Florida,” Mirivel said.
More than 40 cases of locally-contracted Zika have been reported in Florida.
“That’s obviously concerning. We’re keeping an eye on that,” Mirivel said.