LITTLE ROCK — Seven cases of the Zika virus have now been confirmed in Arkansas, the state Health Department said Wednesday.

LITTLE ROCK — Seven cases of the Zika virus have now been confirmed in Arkansas, the state Health Department said Wednesday.


All seven cases involved people who had recently traveled out of the United States. Health Department spokeswoman Meg Mirivel said the latest case involved a person who had recently traveled to the Pacific Islands.


The virus’ symptoms are usually mild, but Zika has been identified as a cause of congenital microcephaly and other birth defects.


On Monday, the U.S. Centers Disease Control and Prevention issued an updated guidance on the virus. Under the new guidance, couples in which a woman is pregnant, and either partner has recently traveled to an area with active Zika virus transmission, are advised to use barrier methods against infection consistently and correctly or abstain from sex for the duration of the pregnancy.


Couples in which a woman is not pregnant or planning to become pregnant and either of the partners has had the Zika virus are advised to use barrier methods against infection consistently and correctly or abstain from sex if:


—A man has had the virus within the past six months at least after the onset of illness.


—A woman has had the virus within the past eight weeks at least after the onset of illness.


Couples in areas without active Zika transmission in which one partner traveled to or resides in an area with active Zika virus transmission but did not develop symptoms of Zika virus should consider using barrier methods against infection or abstaining from sex for at least 8 weeks after that partner left the Zika-affected area.


Couples who reside in an area with active Zika virus transmission might consider using barrier methods against infection or abstaining from sex while active transmission persists, according to the agency’s guidance.