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Pitt Researcher Contracts Zika Virus After Being Stuck With Needle In Lab

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A University of Pittsburgh researcher contracted the Zika virus after accidentally sticking herself with a needle.

The Allegheny County Health Department confirms that she is the fourth confirmed case of Zika virus in the county.

It's a unique case because the woman did not travel to an affected area, nor was she infected through sexual transmission.

Pitt says the researcher stuck herself with the needle on May 23, and then developed symptoms on June 1.

"We want to remind residents that, despite this rare incident, there is still no current risk of contracting Zika from mosquitos in Allegheny County. For those traveling to countries affected by Zika, we urge caution. Pregnant women particularly should avoid travel to affected countries." said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department."

The researcher was free of fever by June 6 and returned to work on that date.

On advice of the ACHD, 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.

The Zika virus is primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, which is common in warm climates.

The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes).

The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week, although the majority of persons infected with the virus do not have any symptoms.

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Zika virus infection has been linked to fetal malformations. There is no vaccine to prevent, or medicine to treat, Zika virus infection.

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