Pregnant Napa County Woman Positive for Zika Virus

An Aedes Aegypti mosquito is photographed on human skin in a lab of the International Training and Medical Research Training Center in Cali, Colombia, in January. (Luis Robayo/AFP/Getty Images)

A pregnant woman in Napa has been confirmed positive for the Zika virus, the Napa County Public Health Division reported Wednesday. The agency received the confirmation from the California Department of Public Health.

The woman, whom officials did not identify, had traveled to Central America in the last three months, and is not showing signs of Zika infection at present.

“This Zika virus case is not a threat to public health. There is no active transmission of Zika virus in Napa County, and the two kinds of mosquitos that transmit the virus have not been found here,” Dr. Karen Relucio, Napa County health officer, said in a statement.

“Anyone who is planning to travel to a country with active Zika virus transmission should consult with their health care provider before leaving,” she said, “especially if they are pregnant or are considering becoming pregnant.”

Napa public health officials say they expect to see more Zika cases. The agency is working with local doctors to test for cases of Zika virus both in pregnant women who have traveled to countries with Zika virus or who have sexual partners who have traveled to these countries.

In its press release, Napa County Public Health stressed prevention:

  • Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant are advised to avoid travel to areas with Zika.
  • Women who are pregnant and have sexual partner(s) that have traveled to areas with Zika are advised to abstain from sex or use condoms consistently for the duration of the pregnancy.
  • Pregnant women or sexual partner(s) of pregnant women who cannot avoid travel to areas with Zika are advised to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites (This information is also available in Spanish).

In Northern California, there has been one other reported case of Zika, in a person who had recently traveled internationally. The person is a Yolo County resident. Statewide, there have been six confirmed Zika cases so far this year, but a spokesman for the state’s Department of Public Health said he could not confirm the location of each case, for privacy reasons.

Zika is an illness caused by the Zika virus, and it’s spread mostly through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. While these mosquitos are found in California, they are not widespread. Common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis or red eyes.

In the U.S. 107 people have contracted Zika after they traveled to a country where the virus is present, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC reports that there are no cases of people in the U.S. who have acquired Zika from a mosquito.

Zika was first discovered in 1947 in Uganda and then spread through tropical Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands.

In May 2015, Brazil had its first confirmed case of Zika. It spread dramatically through South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. On Feb. 1, the World Health Organization declared Zika a “public health emergency of international concern.

While Zika is a relatively mild illness, it appears to put pregnant women at increased risk of their baby having microcephaly, a birth defect where the baby has a small head. Zika is also associated with increased risk of Guillain-Barre syndrome, an immune system disorder.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information about Zika on this page.

Pregnant Napa County Woman Positive for Zika Virus 3 March,2016Lisa Aliferis

Author

Lisa Aliferis

Lisa Aliferis is the founding editor of KQED's State of Health blog. Since 2011, she's been writing and editing stories for the site. Before taking up blogging, she toiled for many years (more than we can count) producing health stories for television, including Dateline NBC and San Francisco's CBS affiliate, KPIX-TV. She also wrote up a handy guide to the Affordable Care Act, especially for Californians. Her work has been honored for many awards. Most recently she was a finalist for "Best Topical Reporting" from the Online News Association. You can follow her on Twitter: @laliferis

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