A Researcher Inadvertently Gave Herself the Zika Virus

Illustration for article titled A Researcher Inadvertently Gave Herself the Zika Virus

An unnamed researcher at the University of Pittsburgh stuck herself with a needle on May 23 while conducting an experiment in the lab. Nine days later she came down with a fever. She recovered from her symptoms and returned to work, but tests came back confirming she’d contracted Zika.

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CNN reports that she is fully recovered, but the case worried many in the area. It was unique, in that the researcher had neither traveled to a place where the virus is circulating nor been in sexual contact with someone who had, unlike other confirmed cases of Zika in the U.S.

The University’s health department’s director, Dr. Karen Hacker, released a statement to allay fears from the community about an outbreak:

“On advice of the ACHD (Allegheny County Health Department), the researcher is complying with a request to wear long sleeves and pants and wear insect repellent for three weeks from the date of contact...We want to remind residents that, despite this rare incident, there is still no current risk of contracting Zika from mosquitoes in Allegheny County.

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The CDC researchers and Colorado State University also shared a new map showing the spread of the Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes in the U.S., reports of which have jumped from 183 counties from 26 states to 1,241 counties from 40 states between January 1995 and March 2016. However, they believe an outbreak in the U.S. of any severity is unlikely, as we more commonly use air conditioning and window screens.


Image via AP.

Contributing Writer, writing my first book for the Dial Press called The Lonely Hunter, follow me on Twitter @alutkin

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DISCUSSION

hatsforcats
AllieCat demands hats on cats-is probable weirdo

The accident in the lab is concerning. Zika is frightening. But more concerning to me (ever since the accident) are the neighborhood cats that have started to go missing. And the chickens that were slaughtered in Mrs. O’Henneson’s coop last week. Coulda been a wolf, but....there was a print in the blood. Looked more like a human hand than a paw. And well ....Folks round here say that they’ve seen things out of the corner of their eyes at night. Now Kitty Johnson’s always been a gossip so I don’t usually pay too much attention to her blatherins but she says she saw it one day. And I’m inclined to believe her. She was white as a ghost! Looks like a lady scientist she said but...bigger....stronger and covered in fur. Course, people sure do like to talk. Maybe just stories. But still....certainly makes you wonder if we should have lady scientists at all. Never heard of a lady prickin herself with a knitting needle! But perhaps I’m old fashioned, I know one things for certain. Don’t let my young ones out after dark in these parts anymore. They say she eats their hearts first....and their eyes last. So they can watch themselves be eaten. But that’s just what people are sayin.