Health & Medicine

Yolo County confirms case of Zika virus

A Yolo County person has tested positive for Zika virus after recently returning from international travel, adding to worries about the virus’ spread from Latin America into parts of California and the United States.

Kristin Weivoda, Yolo County’s emergency medical services administrator, would not disclose Wednesday the identity or sex of the infected person or where he or she had traveled to. Weivoda said the virus was discovered after the patient showed flulike symptoms including a rash and a fever and sought medical help.

The person has fully recovered from the “mild” case of the virus and is not under any travel restrictions, Weivoda said.

“The person was infected while traveling outside the U.S.,” she said. “We don’t have any concerns about (transmission) happening in Yolo or Sacramento. In Yolo, we don’t have the kind of mosquito that spreads that virus.”

Yolo County spokeswoman Beth Gabor said the patient’s blood was sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing. Yolo does not have a public health lab to test for Zika. There is no cure or vaccine for the virus.

The World Health Organization has declared the Zika virus a global public health emergency, with it spreading to 20 countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean, including Mexico. Researchers suspect it causes a severe neurological condition called microcephaly in babies of infected pregnant mothers.

The California Department of Public Health has reported six travel-associated cases of Zika in the state since 2013, including two in 2015, as of Feb. 5. The department has not specified where the cases occurred in the state. Los Angeles County confirmed last month that one case of Zika was reported there.

There have been 35 travel-associated cases in the U.S. since 2015, and no reports of local transmission.

Zika can be transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, which is common in tropical climates but exists in low concentrations in Northern California. There have been some reports of Zika transmission through blood or sexual fluids.

Yolo County had been sending out health alerts to local providers telling them what to screen for and when to get the county involved if they’re concerned about symptoms and travel history.

“Be aware of your surroundings and if you are traveling to one of those countries ... make sure you're taking precautions to protect yourself and your family,” Weivoda said. “(People) have nothing to worry about. There is no Zika in Yolo or Sacramento County.”

Sammy Caiola: 916-321-1636, @SammyCaiola

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