Zika Virus Reaches San Francisco

A Brazilian mother holds her baby daughter who is suffering from microcephaly, a birth defect that scientists say is linked to the Zika virus

San Francisco health officials confirmed a case of the rapidly spreading Zika virus on Thursday, the second case in the Bay area this week.

The individual contracted the virus during travel to Central America according to KRON 4 News. Officials also conveyed that the patient has already recovered from the disease.

Eight travel-associated cases of Zika have been confirmed in California since the start of 2016 according to California Department of Public Health records as of March 4. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 153 cases of Zika in the U.S. as of March 2.

Though no cases of Zika transmission by mosquito have been reported in the U.S., just a month ago reports came in that aggressive Aedes aegypti mosquitos known to carry the virus were infesting Orange County in southern California.

February also brought confirmation of the first sexually transmitted case of Zika in the U.S.. Dallas County health officials announced the case on February 2.

San Francisco’s newly infected Zika patient is not pregnant, while the other Bay area case was a pregnant Napa County woman. Health officials warn that Zika may be related to the birth defect microcephaly and urge pregnant women to avoid travel to countries hard-hit with the disease, including many South and Central American countries. Men infected with Zika can spread the disease through sexual contact. The Zika virus lives longer in semen than in blood. No evidence has surfaced that women could spreading the virus.

Symptoms of Zika may or may not be detected in those infected, but can include fever, joint pain, rash and red eyes according to a statement from San Francisco Department of Public Health released in the KRON news report. Cases of the disease have also cropped up across California in Napa, Yolo, Los Angeles and San Diego counties.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana


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