SLO County resident contracts Zika virus

October 13, 2016

mosquitoHealth officials have confirmed the first case of the Zika virus in San Luis Obispo County. A person who lives in North County contracted Zika while visiting a part of Mexico where the virus has been detected, according to the SLO County Public Health Department.

The person reportedly developed symptoms five days after returning home. Officials are not releasing further information about the infected individual.

Zika is primarily spread by infected mosquitoes, specifically the yellow fever mosquito and the Asian tiger mosquito. Outbreaks of Zika have occurred in Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, Mexico and Central and South America.

The virus 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 effects.

There have been no confirmed cases of people contracting Zika from mosquito bites in California. However, health officials say 328 travel-associated Zika infections have been recorded in the state, as of Oct. 7.

That total includes six confirmed cases in Santa Barbara County. Traps and tests of mosquitoes have yet to show any evidence of Zika-carrying insects in either Santa Barbara or San Luis Obispo County.

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I appreciate this well-written and informative article on an important topic to SLO County residents.