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Baltimore forms work group on Zika virus

Posted: 4:04 PM, Feb 17, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-17 23:05:48Z

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has set up a work group to prepare for the potential impact of the Zika virus in Baltimore.

Last week, the state's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced its first confirmed case of a Marylander infected with the Zika virus.

The Zika outbreak in Brazil and other countries has sparked concern, due to its connection to microcephaly in newborns, a condition where babies are born with smaller than average heads. It is a disease typically spread through a bite from the Aedes mosquito; transmission is also possible through blood transfusions and sexual intercourse.

RELATED: Zika virus confirmed in Maryland

Up to 80 percent of people infected show no symptoms; others have generally mild symptoms including fever, rash, joint pain, pink eye and headaches.

As of Feb. 5, the Zika virus has been reported in 26 countries.

Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore health commissioner, said the group’s first meeting will occur later this month, and will provide recommendations and updates to the mayor.