1st Zika Virus Case of 2016 Reported in San Diego County

In the first case reported this year, the woman recently returned from Colombia, was not hospitalized and has fully recovered, officials said

San Diego County health officials have confirmed the region’s first Zika virus case of 2016.

The County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) reported Friday the case involved a woman who contracted the virus while in Colombia. The patient returned to the San Diego area in January, officials said, but she was not hospitalized and has fully recovered.

Also Friday, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed nine cases of Zika virus among pregnant women in the U.S., and say they are investigating 10 more suspected cases.

The woman in San Diego County was not pregnant, officials said.

The Zika virus -- spread mainly by mosquito bites -- is epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean.The yellow-fever mosquito and Asian tiger mosquito known to spread Zika are not native to San Diego, county health officials said. However, the insects have been discovered here in recent years.

The virus causes mild illness or no symptoms in most people. But in Brazil, officials are investigating a possible link to babies born with unusually small heads, a rare birth defect called microcephaly that can signal underlying brain damage.

Brazil has seen 59 confirmed cases of microcephaly since the surge was first noticed last October, and another 440 cases are under investigation.

Since August, the CDC said it has tested 257 pregnant women in the U.S. for Zika; eight were positive and a state lab confirmed a ninth.

This is not the first time the Zika virus has been reported in the county. There were two previous patients in July 2014 and July 2015 who both contracted the virus in the South Pacific, officials said.

“There is no immediate threat from Zika if people have not traveled to known affected areas,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Anyone who is planning travel to a country with active Zika virus transmission should consult their doctors before leaving, especially if they are pregnant or are considering becoming pregnant.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been no reported mosquito-transmitted cases of Zika in the U.S.

Although Mexico has reported cases from local mosquitos, none have been in Baja California.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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