Hearing to discuss preparations for Zika in Illinois

CHICAGO (AP) — Health officials plan to discuss the low risk of Zika virus in Illinois and efforts to prepare in case the situation changes.

The Illinois Senate Public Health Committee will hold a hearing about Zika on Tuesday in Chicago. The type of mosquito mainly responsible for spreading Zika is rarely found in Illinois and can’t survive freezing temperatures.

Most people who are infected suffer mild flu-like symptoms, but the virus can cause severe birth defects. Illinois has been testing patients with symptoms and pregnant women who’ve traveled to Zika-affected areas or who’ve had sex with people who’ve traveled to Zika-affected areas.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has a Zika virus action plan on its website. It covers mosquito surveillance and control, lab testing and has public health messages for pregnant women and others.