Tulare County health officials said Wednesday that a person has tested positive for the Zika virus after getting bitten by mosquitoes during recent travels in Central America.
It is the first Zika infection in Tulare County.
“Community members who travel to Mexico, Central and South America, and other countries at high risk for Zika transmission should understand the risks of travel to those areas and take extra precautions to protect themselves and their sexual partners,” said Jason T. Britt, Tulare County public health director. “Women who are or may become pregnant are strongly encouraged to postpone travel to areas where Zika transmission is ongoing.”
The Zika virus is spread primarily through bites from Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The species has been detected in Tulare County, Britt said, but “there have been no reports of mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus locally.”
Zika also can spread through sexual contact with infected people. If a pregnant woman’s sexual partner has traveled to an area with active Zika spread, he or she should use protection throughout the pregnancy.
Zika infection during pregnancy can cause fetal death and birth defects, including microcephaly, convulsions and developmental defects.