Health officials: Unlikely Zika virus will cross Mexico-Arizona border
PHOENIX — The Zika virus is unlikely to spread to Arizona by way of the Mexican border, a Maricopa County health official said Monday.
Zika virus has been particularly active this year in Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean. Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine said other insect-borne diseases have failed to spread from Mexico in the past.
“We haven’t seen chikungunya (virus) or dengue come in through Mexico, even though they’ve been circulating there widely in the past, so I really don’t know if Zika will come into Arizona,” she said.
There are currently no Zika cases in Arizona, but Sunenshine said the state is prepared.
“We have a very active mosquito and human surveillance system, and as soon as we get a case here of any of those diseases we have a response plan ready to go.”
The Centers for Disease Control has confirmed about 150 Zika virus cases nationwide, mostly involving international travelers.
“We have not seen transmission in the continental United States yet, so we all just have to wait and see, Sunenshine said.
Though Zika virus symptoms can be mild in many cases, it is particularly dangerous for pregnant women as it has been linked to birth defects.