March 1, 2024

Denver Woman Travels to Mexico, Returns With the Zika Virus

2 min read

mosquitoAbout one-tenth of all travelers claim they cannot relax while on vacation because they are constantly checking their voicemails and emails. Now, a new risk of disease is threatening to ruin many vacation plans nationwide.

The Zika Virus is a mosquito-borne disease that has recently become more widespread in both Latin and South America. Carried by the same type of mosquito that carries dengue fever and yellow fever, Zika can be incredibly dangerous.

Zika also poses a significant risk to pregnant women or those trying to conceive. If a woman catches the disease while pregnant, it may cause the child to develop incredibly severe birth defects.

Not only can it be carried by mosquitoes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reports that it can be spread through sexual intercourse.

Only one in every five people with the disease show symptoms. The disease can cause fever, rashes, severe joint pain, and redness in the whites of the eyes. However, the vast majority never show any symptoms, which can lead them to spread the disease unknowingly to those most vulnerable.

And one Colorado traveler was one of the unfortunate. Susan Shepard, a former Denver City Councilwoman, recently took a vacation to Mexico and came back with the disease. She reports not seeing many mosquitoes, but does remember getting one bite that was more painful than the rest.

Shepard didn’t think much of it, but her symptoms soon became worse. She tells 9News, “A few days later, I broke out in a rash all over my body. The day after that I had some extremely bad joint pain in both my feet as well as my hands that lasted for about four days.”

Shepard then went to the hospital where a blood test confirmed she was a carrier of Zika.

Even though she felt uncomfortable, Shepard is now free of the disease. She also says that this mild infection will not stop her from returning to Mexico in the future.

As of July 13, there have been 1,305 travel-associated cases of Zika reported in the United States. In Colorado alone, there have been 12 cases found, Susan Shepard being one of them.

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