By Tia Will
As reported in the L A Times 2/11/16:
“The person, whose identity and gender were not released, had recently traveled to a country in the Caribbean or Central or South America and contracted the virus, said Beth Gabor, a spokeswoman for the Northern California county. The individual is not pregnant and has mild symptoms.”
So what should you do? My preliminary recommendations as a healthcare provider at this time are as follows:
- Any woman who is pregnant or capable of becoming pregnant should avoid travel to any of the countries currently experiencing Zika outbreaks. Lists of countries are readily available on line. If in doubt, check with your health care provider prior to making travel plans.
- Since the mosquito born virus has been spreading rapidly in the western hemisphere, I recommend that we all take the usual precautions with regard to mosquito abatement. Avoid standing pools or bowls of water on your property. Report them to the city if on public property. As we move into the warmer months, I recommend prudent use of individual anti-mosquito products when outdoors and use of protective clothing.
- Check online “Fight the Bite” information. Although the affected species of mosquito do not appear to be here yet, it is not unrealistic to think that they will be.
From County Press Release:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed today that a Yolo County resident has tested positive for Zika virus. This individual recently traveled out of the country and had a mild case of Zika.
Zika virus is a relatively new disease for the Western hemisphere. It first appeared in Brazil in May of 2015. It has since spread to 20 countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean, including Mexico. Zika is spread through mosquito bites, not casual person-to-person contact. According to the CDC, the most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain and red, itchy eyes. Symptoms are usually mild and last several days to a week. Many people who have Zika will not experience symptoms. There is currently no vaccine or treatment for Zika.
Pregnant women, however, are believed to be most at risk for complications from the Zika virus because serious birth defects have been reported in infants born to women infected with the virus. The CDC is planning studies to learn more about the connection between Zika and children born with these birth defects. In the meantime, the CDC has issued travel guidance for women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant. To stay up-to-date on the CDC’s latest travel notices, visit: www.cdc.gov/travel.
“Yolo County residents traveling to Central or South America or the Caribbean, where Zika is present, should take precautions against mosquitoes,” said Yolo County Health Officer Ron Chapman, MD, MPH. “If you are pregnant, consider postponing your trip. All travelers to areas where Zika is present should go to their doctor if they experience any of the symptoms associated with Zika within three to seven days after they return. Pregnant women who have recently traveled to an area with Zika should talk to a healthcare provider about their travel even if they don’t feel sick.”
Ways to avoid mosquito bites include:
- Using an insect repellant containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus;
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts and trousers;
- Using air conditioning or window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside; and
- Reducing the number of mosquitoes inside and outside your home by emptying standing water from containers such as flowerpots or buckets. Mosquitoes can breed in as little amount of water as a bottle cap.
To learn more about Zika virus, visit: www.cdc.gov/zika and www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Pages/Zika.aspx.