A woman from the Coachella Valley has tested positive for the Zika virus and health officials say the woman contracted the illness during her travels.
The woman is the second travel-associated confirmed Zika case in Riverside County, according to Riverside University Health System-Public Health. The first case involved a 50-year-old man who had recently traveled to the Caribbean.
There have been no cases of Zika being acquired locally in Riverside County or California. The second patient is not pregnant and is expected to fully recover, according to the county’s press release.
Zika is typically transmitted to people by a bite from an infected mosquito. However, it can also be spread from mother to unborn child, through sexual contact and through blood transfusions. The mosquito that carries Zika has been found in portions of Riverside County, including Corona, Riverside, the Coachella Valley and parts of the San Jacinto Valley.
Following the confirmation of the latest Zika case, The Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District will intensify mosquito surveillance and control efforts in the area in an effort to detect mosquito species known to transmit the Zika virus, suppress mosquito populations and reduce the risk of potential local virus transmission. The work will be carried out in the area bordered by Tachevah Drive, Date Palm Drive, 30th Avenue and Landau Boulevard.
There is no medication to treat Zika and no vaccine is currently available.
The best way to prevent Zika is to avoid travel to areas where active transmission is present. Zika is only one of several diseases that can be spread by mosquitoes.
To protect yourself from mosquito bites, consider the following:
• Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes.
• Use EPA-registered insect repellants and apply according to the label instructions.
• Stay and sleep in places with air conditioning and screened-in windows.
• If you are returning from a Zika area, which includes parts of Mexico, the Caribbean, most of Central and South America, and some Pacific islands, wear insect repellant both there and also for at least three weeks when you return here to reduce the risk of spreading it locally.
About 80 percent of people infected with Zika do not have any symptoms. Illness may develop in 20 percent of infected people within three to seven days after a bite from an infected mosquito. Symptoms are generally mild and can last for several days to a week. Common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis (red eyes), muscle pain or headache.
Serious complications are extremely rare for the patient, but Zika has been linked to abnormal brain development in the baby when it infects a pregnant woman.