PBS — More than 1,400 Americans contracted Zika while traveling outside the U.S. this year and a Caribbean-island nation is one of the top destinations where they caught the virus.
Visitors to the Dominican Republic account for more than a fifth of the confirmed Zika cases in the U.S. through mid-July, according to data from state health departments. New York, Florida and California alone tally 304 cases linked to the country, the data show.
As Florida officials investigate what may be the first non-travel-associated cases of Zika infection in the U.S., Kaiser Health News looked more deeply into the origins of the 1,404 travel-related cases reported by all states to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For most people, Zika causes flu-like symptoms. Pregnant women are considered especially at risk of the threat because Zika can cause severe birth defects, such as microcephaly.
The CDC does not break out the cases it tracks by country of origin — only by the infected person’s state of residency. It said in June that 48 percent of the travel-associated cases for all of 2015 and through May of this year originated in the Caribbean, 26 percent in Central America and 23 percent in South America. The cases numbered 591 at that time.