Health & Medicine

Zika found in Sacramento County’s first reported case

How to stay safe from mosquitoes

Zika and West Nile viruses are both transmitted by mosquitoes. Officials from public health and from Sacramento-Yolo vector control explain how to protect yourself from bites.
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Zika and West Nile viruses are both transmitted by mosquitoes. Officials from public health and from Sacramento-Yolo vector control explain how to protect yourself from bites.

A Sacramento County man who recently traveled to an area with active Zika transmission has tested positive in a preliminary test for the virus.

The 34-year-old man sought medical care after exhibiting Zika symptoms, prompting the doctor to report the case to the county, said Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye. She could not specify which symptoms the man had. They generally include fever, rash, joint pain, red eyes, muscle pain and headache.

The county also didn’t release the man’s identity or name the Zika-affected country he had traveled to.

The county sent an initial blood sample to the California Department of Public Health, which ran a test that produced the positive Zika result, Kasirye said. The case is not considered confirmed until the state runs a second lab test, she said.

The man is in recovery at home and will not need to be quarantined, she said.

“There is no risk,” Kasirye said. “The mosquito that carries the virus, we don’t have it in the Sacramento region.”

The Zika virus spreads when specific types of mosquitoes bite an infected person and then bite someone else. It broke out Brazil in spring 2015 and spread to dozens of countries in South America and the Caribbean. The Zika virus can also be transmitted sexually.

The mosquito kills nearly 750,000 people each year. Malaria is the cause for the majority of these deaths, but a Zika outbreak has the Americas scared of this insect. This is how the insect spreads disease to its victims.

It is not usually life-threatening in adults, but is tied to a severe neurological defect in babies born to Zika-infected mothers.

As of July 22, there have been 98 cases of travel-associated Zika virus in California, including two in Yolo County, and roughtly 1,650 in the United States. Four locally transmitted cases have been confirmed in Florida.

The two primary mosquito species capable of transmitting Zika – Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus – have not been detected in Sacramento County, according to the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District. They have been detected as far north as Hayward and Menlo Park in the Bay Area and in Central Valley cities such as Madera, Fresno and Clovis.

The county is also investigating six human cases of West Nile virus, which is spread principally by the culex mosquito. The control district began aerial spraying to combat mosquito populations in Yolo County this week.

Recent research has indicated the culex mosquito could also be a vector for Zika.

“Prevention is the best protection,” Kasirye said in the release. “The elderly, the very young, and those traveling to countries with active Zika transmission need to be especially vigilant.”

BloodSource and other donation centers adopt a 28-day waiting period for people who have traveled to Zika-affected countries in order to protect the blood supply from the virus.

Sammy Caiola: 916-321-1636, @SammyCaiola

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