Arizona’s Zika virus defense takes shape

State and county health leaders say Arizona faces a high risk from travelers who return to the state with Zika virus infections, but the goal is to quickly identify such cases to prevent the spread of the mosquito-borne disease.

“We are at high risk for imported cases,” Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said Tuesday. Christ’s comments came at the Arizona Zika Action Plan Summit, a gathering of public health, medical and environmental officials.

Christ said Arizona will seek to quickly identify travelers who return with Zika infections and work to prevent the virus from reaching local mosquitoes that can carry the virus.

Arizona has tested 88 cases, but only three have been confirmed. All three involved people who traveled to areas where the mosquito-borne virus is circulating widely.

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