Health

Riverside County gets 1st confirmed case of Zika virus

A dead Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits Zika virus, sits under a microscope on Feb. 17, 2016 at Orange County Vector Control.
A dead Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits Zika virus, sits under a microscope on Feb. 17, 2016 at Orange County Vector Control.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Riverside has joined the list of counties with known Zika virus infections.

State health officials said Tuesday a 50-year-old man who resides in southwest Riverside County was likely infected while traveling in the Dominican Republic.

“While Riverside County is one of the last counties in Southern California to have a confirmed case, we always knew it would happen eventually,” said Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser in a written statement. “We will continue working with our partners in health care and vector control to protect our residents, especially pregnant women and the unborn, who are most at risk.”

The Riverside man was expected to make a full recovery, the California Department of Public Health said in a statement.

No locally-acquired cases have been confirmed in the continental United States, and as of Friday state health officials were reporting only 68 total cases in California.

Most of those have been reported in Los Angeles (19 cases) and San Diego (16) counties.

Zika virus infections in California, 2015-2016

County Travel-associated Locally acquired
Alameda 5 0
Contra Costa 4 0
Los Angeles 19 0
Marin 1 0
Napa 1 0
Orange 6 0
San Bernardino 3 0
San Diego 16** 0
San Francisco 2 0
San Joaquin 3 0
San Mateo 2 0
Santa Clara 1 0
Solano 1 0
Sonoma 1 0
Stanislaus 1 0
Yolo 2 0
Total 68 0

(Laboratory-confirmed and probable infections as of July 1, 2016. ** indicates figure includes one non-resident. | Source: California Department of Public Health)

Zika virus has been linked to birth defects and can be sexually transmitted, but mosquito bites are reported far more frequently as the mode of transmission.

So far only one case of sexually-transmitted Zika virus has been reported in California.

Aedes aegypti, a mosquito known to carry Zika, has been found throughout California, but so far health officials have identified no confirmed cases of a local mosquito infecting someone in the state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued health advisories for travelers to Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands. Officials recommend taking precautions to avoid mosquito bites and to talk with your doctor about the risks if you’re pregnant. Make sure to use insect repellent that includes one of the following ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, OLE or PMD. Officials also advise using condoms if you plan to be sexually active.

For more information on Zika virus and how you can protect yourself, see our FAQ here.