State health officials say a transmission of Zika virus has been confirmed this week in Ensenada, Mexico, and is a reminder of the need for travelers to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
Ensenada is approximately 85 miles south of San Diego, making it a popular destination for California travelers.
“In particular, pregnant women and couples considering pregnancy need to be cautious because Zika virus can cause severe birth defects,” Dr. Karen Smith, California’s health officer, said Wednesday. “Pregnant women are urged to avoid travel to areas with known Zika transmission if at all possible. If travel is necessary, it is extremely important to prevent mosquito bites by using mosquito repellents and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.”
In addition to the Mexican state of Baja California, where Ensenada if located, the states of Baja California Sur, where Cabo San Lucas is, and Sonora, which borders Arizona, have also reported local Zika virus transmission. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider any travel to Mexico to be a potential risk for Zika virus infection.
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The mosquitoes that can carry Zika virus and infect people live in many areas of California, including the central San Joaquin Valley. While there has been no local transmission of Zika virus in California to date, the state has confirmed 486 cases of travel-associated infections.
More information about Zika can be found at the California Department of Public Health website.