March 25, 2016

USA: HEAD's UP! San Diego County Reports First Confirmed Zika Virus Case Acquired By Sexual Transmission In California. :o

San Jose Mercury News, USA
written by Tracy Seipel
Friday March 25, 2016

San Diego County public health officials on Friday confirmed California's first confirmed case of Zika virus acquired through sexual transmission.

The woman was infected with the virus in February after intimate contact with an ill man who returned from a trip to Colombia, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. The woman was not pregnant and had not traveled out of the country, and she and her partner have fully recovered.

"Travelers to countries where Zika is present should protect themselves from mosquito bites while they are abroad and prevent sexual transmission when they return," county public health officer Wilma Wooten, M.D. ,said in a statement.

"Next to abstinence, condoms are the best prevention method against any sexually transmitted infections."

Public health officials say a man infected with the Zika virus can spread it to his sexual partners, but it's not known how long after infection a man can spread Zika virus to sexual partners. At this time, there is no evidence that women can transmit Zika virus to their sexual partners.

The California Department of Public Health recommends that men who have traveled to an area where Zika virus is circulating abstain from sex or diligently use condoms with a partner who is pregnant or trying to become pregnant for the duration of the pregnancy. The precautions apply to vaginal, anal or oral sex.

Zika virus is primarily transmitted to people by mosquitoes known as Aedes aegypti (Asian tiger mosquito) and Aedes albopictus (yellow fever mosquito). The latter are the same type of mosquitoes that transmit dengue and chikungunya viruses.

The two types of mosquitoes -- which are not native to California -- have been identified in 12 California counties. Only Aedes aegypti has been found in the Bay Area, in San Mateo and Alameda counties.

Only one out of every five people who gets infected with the Zika virus ever experiences any illness. If people do get sick, their symptoms are usually mild and may include fever, rash, joint pain or conjunctivitis (red eyes).

But the mosquito-borne virus has been linked to a rare birth defect that results in an abnormally small head. And the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Brazil has reported that an increased number of people infected with the virus also have Guillain-Barré syndrome, an immune system disorder.

To date, there have been 22 travel-associated cases of Zika virus reported in California in 2015-2016, including three in Contra Costa County, and one each in Alameda, Napa and San Francisco counties. There has been no local mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus in the state.

Contact Tracy Seipel at 408-920-5343. Follow her at Twitter.com/taseipel.

ZIKA VIRUS PRECAUTIONS

Anyone traveling to areas with known Zika virus risk should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, including:

Use insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol for long-lasting protection. If you use sunscreen and insect repellent, apply the sunscreen first and then the repellent. Pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding should choose an EPA-registered insect repellent and use it according to the product label.

Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

Use air conditioning or window/door screens to keep mosquitoes outside. If you are not able to protect yourself from mosquitoes indoors, sleep under a mosquito bed net.

Help reduce the number of mosquitoes outside by emptying standing water from containers, such as flowerpots or buckets.

For more information on Zika virus disease and other mosquito-borne illnesses, visit the CDPH Zika virus information Web page at http://bit.ly/1SbJdC4.

Source: California Department of Public Health

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