LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The Unites States is moving into its third year with Zika and there's some encouraging news regarding the Zika virus and efforts to create a vaccine to fight this disease.
The Arkansas Department of Health said it expects to see Zika cases in the southern areas around the gulf this year.
ADH said researchers have started testing a vaccine for the disease.
“We are already into the phase one trials, there's been a small number of volunteers who have taken the vaccine,” said Gary Wheeler, Chief Medical Officer for the department.
The vaccine has already started moving into phase two trials.
“These are the more expensive ones, where we go into areas where people might be accidentally exposed like Puerto Rico or South Texas and Miami and take volunteers there and look and see if the vaccine works which is the main purpose of the trial,” Wheeler said.
This year the CDC gave Arkansas extra funds to prepare for a possible Zika outbreak. Laboratories in the state will now have the ability to test for Zika.
"We can relatively [have] rapid turnaround on results so the citizens of the state know what their results are,” he said.
Pregnant women are still being urged to use extra caution to protect themselves against the virus. Meg Mirival, who is due to give birth in July is one mother who is worried about contracting the Zika virus. And with summer coming up, she and her husband take every precaution they can to protect their baby.
“My husband and I have been planning our vacations around where there's low risk," Mirivel said. "Just because we knew we would try to have another baby.”
She feels anyone wanting to become pregnant or women in general should be extra aware of Zika.
“We know that 50 percent of pregnancies are unplanned so women my age may not be thinking about having a baby but if it's a possibility you still want to keep Zika in mind,” she said.
If you want to find out how you can protect yourself from Zika this summer, click here.
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