Health officials: 5 in New York test positive for Zika virus

ALBANY, New York (WABC) -- Five people in the New York area have tested positive for the mosquito-born Zika virus.

New York City has two Zika cases. Both are adults and neither is pregnant. They got the virus while traveling outside of New York. At least one of the patients lives in Queens.

Additionally, Nassau, Orange, and Monroe counties each have one Zika patient. All contracted the infection while abroad.

Officials wouldn't say where the people had recently traveled, describing the locations as areas where the "virus transmission is ongoing."

Jessica Murphy is 18-weeks pregnant with her second child and enjoyed a week-long family vacation in Puerto Rico early this month, knowing full well there was one case of Zika virus on the island.

"While I was there I took precautions, wore mosquito repellant clothing, eucalyptus like it was perfume, all the bug repellants which are safe for pregnancy," Murphy said.

Those precautions paid off. Two weeks since her return to New York and the 38-year-old has suffered none of the tell-tale virus symptoms which include fever, rash, joint pain or conjunctivitis.

But much has changed since the Murphy's Caribbean getaway. Along with the four New York State cases, the CDC says Zika has now spread to 24 countries and territories.

"We are getting at least five phone calls a day, even patients who have traveled to Florida because there were three cases of Zika virus in Florida," said Dr. Joanne Stone, of the Mt. Sinai Healthcare System.

Dr. Stone and the CDC now suggest pregnant women postpone travel to any of the affected areas.

"The big concern here is that it appears that women who get this infection when they are pregnant it increases the risk that the baby will be born with a severe form of brain damage," said Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News Medical Correspondent.

"In those patients who have traveled and come back, if they have symptoms, then they need to get tested. There are certain tests that can diagnose Zika virus," Dr. Stone said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded its warning for pregnant women thinking of visiting 22 destinations, most in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The virus has been linked with microcephaly which can leave affected newborns with unusually small heads and abnormal brain development.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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