Mt. Juliet, Tenn. – City of Mt. Juliet public safety officials were informed by the Tennessee Department of Health and Wilson County Emergency Management Agency (WEMA) today about the first travel-related case of Zika virus in the area. An individual tested positive for the virus following travel to an area where active mosquito transmission of Zika is currently taking place and travel advisories have been issued. There have been no locally-transmitted cases of Zika in the Mt. Juliet area or Tennessee as of today; however, this case serves as a reminder to everyone that precautions can be taken to prevent the spread of Zika.
“Though there has been local spread of Zika by mosquitoes in areas of South Florida, we have not identified any cases of Zika spread by mosquitoes in Tennessee. The people who have tested positive got the virus from traveling to other places where Zika virus is more widespread. However, the mosquitoes here in Middle Tennessee may be able to spread the Zika virus if they bite someone who has the virus, and then bite someone else,” stated Medical Doctor Deidra Parrish, Regional Medical Director for the Tennessee Department of Health, in a letter to area Mt. Juliet residents.
After the case was confirmed, members from the Tennessee Department of Health and WEMA went door-to-door this morning within a 200-yard radius, recommended treatment distance, of the inflected individual’s residence to inform the community about the confirmed case. Officials visited residents and left prevention information packets at homes along Timber Lake Drive, Timber Ridge Court, and Timber Oak Drive in the Timber Trail neighborhood.
Avoiding mosquitoes is the best was to prevent Zika virus infection and to prevent other illnesses spread by mosquitoes. Common symptoms of Zika virus infection are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes), lasting from several days to one week. The following prevention methods are highly encouraged:
- Apply EPA-approved insect repellent. (Follow manufacturer’s instructions)
- Wear pants and long-sleeve shirts that cover exposed skin. In warmer weather, wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that covers exposed skin.
- Use screens or close windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
- “Tip and Toss” – Remove standing water in and around the home. This includes water in cans, toys, tires, plant saucers, and an0y container that can hold water.
- Cover trash cans or containers where water can collect.
- To avoid infecting local mosquitoes, people who travel to areas with active Zika transmission should apply insect repellent every time they go outside for at least three weeks after they return to Tennessee – and longer if they develop an illness that could be Zika.
For question regarding this event, or if anyone develops symptoms over the next two months, please contact the Tennessee Department of Health at (615) 650-7000 for information and to be evaluated or go see your healthcare provider.
More information on the Zika virus and ways to prevent its spread can be found at the Tennessee Department of Health’s website at https://www.tn.gov/health/topic/zika-virus .