The Tennessee Department of Health confirmed Tuesday afternoon the first case of Zika virus in the state.
TDH, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported one person in the state tested positive for the Zika virus.
The patient had traveled to South America before coming back to East Tennessee.
The Tenn. Department of Health told 10News they could not provide a more specific location for the patient due to HIPAA laws.
In a release, TDH wrote “Except in pregnant women, Zika virus is almost always a very mild illness and for most people testing is not necessary. Approximately 80 percent of those infected never show symptoms of the disease while approximately 20 percent show only mild symptoms.”
There isn’t a vaccine for the mosquito-borne Zika virus, and no specific antiviral treatment.
Knox County Health Department Director Martha Buchanan is urging the public to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites. She said the public should use mosquito sprays containing DEET, wear loose fitting clothing or long sleeves, and stay indoors with air conditioning and the windows and doors shut.
"The only protection against Zika virus is not getting bitten by a mosquito," Buchanan said. "So, there's no vaccination, and there's no treatment-- it's just symptomatic treatment."
Experts have reported an increase in microcephaly for babies born to women with Zika virus infections. It is a condition where the head is smaller than normal, and, according to the TDH, can lead to other health challenges down the road like physical and speech functions, seizure, hyperactivity, coordination problems and other brain/neurological disorders.
The CDC recommends pregnant women or women trying to become pregnant postpone travel to areas where the Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
"If they can put that travel off, put it off and go another time," Buchanan said. "If they can't, they need to follow instructions about protecting themselves against mosquito bites."
The White House plans to ask Congress for $1.8 billion in emergency funding to combat the virus, through mosquito control programs, vaccine research, education and improving healthcare for low-income pregnant women.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced its emergency operations center has been put on a Level 1 status – the highest level of activation – because of the Zika outbreak.
USA TODAY reports that the CDC has only put its operations center at Level 1 three times in the past: during the Ebola outbreak in 2014; during the H1N1 pandemic in in 2009; and after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.