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Oregon mosquitoes do not carry Zika virus

There was a ton of coverage about the Zika virus, and then it seemed to stop completely. Does Oregon have any cases or at risk for the virus?

— Billy, Rogue RiverAs of May 10, there have been six confirmed Zika cases in Oregon. But the good news, Billy, is those cases were associated with travel. There have been zero cases in which the Zika virus was contracted via mosquitoes in Oregon.

And there's even better news for Oregonians. Two types of mosquitoes are known to spread Zika virus, and neither is found in Oregon. However, while it is primarily spread through mosquitoes, Zika can be transmitted through sexual activity with people who develop the symptoms. The symptoms of Zika include fever, rash, joint pain and redness of the eyes, although most infected people experience no symptoms at all. Zika infection can cause birth defects, which is what many of us saw in the news, but other serious illness related to the virus requiring hospitalization is uncommon.

There is no treatment or vaccine for Zika at this time. But you can practice easy prevention techniques by using insect repellent, protecting your skin from mosquito bites and avoiding unprotected sex with those who have been in areas known to have mosquitoes with the virus.

Zika has gained a lot of notoriety in recent months, but a few simple safeguards — along with being out of the geographic danger zone — makes it fairly easy for Oregonians to protect themselves.— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.