Five Santa Barbara County residents infected with Zika virus
September 27, 2016
Santa Barbara County health officials have confirmed a total of five residents in the county who have contracted the Zika virus. Three of the five Zika cases were confirmed this month.
Each of the individuals who tested positive for the virus contracted it while traveling. Of the five who contracted Zika, four are women and one is a man, KCOY reports.
Health officials confirmed the first two cases in August. First, a pregnant Santa Barbara County woman contracted Zika while in Central America. Then, a non-pregnant woman tested positive for the virus after visiting a region of Mexico where Zika is transmitted.
Officials have not released any details about the three most recent cases. The county health department said last month it expects the number of confirmed Zika cases will increase as doctors follow a Centers for Disease Control recommendation to screen and/or test at-risk individuals.
The Zika virus is primarily spread by infected mosquitoes, specifically the yellow fever mosquito and the Asian tiger mosquito. Zika outbreaks have occurred in Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, Mexico and Central and South America.
Zika can also be spread through sexual activity. Additionally, the Zika infection can be passed from a pregnant woman to the fetus. The infection can cause the child to be born with microcephaly — small head syndrome — as well as brain damage and other birth defects.
There have been no cases of people contracting Zika from mosquitoes bites in California. All confirmed Zika cases in California have involved people who contracted the virus while traveling outside the United Staes or through sexual conduct with an infected traveler, according to the state Department of Public Health.
The Santa Barbara County Mosquito and Vector Management District is currently trapping and testing mosquitoes. As of the end of August, traps and tests had yet to show any evidence of the presence of Zika-carrying mosquitoes in Santa Barbara County.
In San Luis Obispo County, health officials have not reported any cases of residents contracting Zika.