San Rafael, CA – Today, the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) confirmed Marin’s first Zika virus infection. The disease was contracted by an individual who was in Central America recently.
The spread of the Zika virus occurs primarily through infected Aedes mosquitoes, which have not been detected in Marin.
Due to privacy concerns and because this case does not represent any risk to the community, HHS will not release any identifying information regarding the infected individual. HHS will continue to provide updates on Zika on www.marinhhs.org, through news releases and with social media posts.
There have been Zika virus outbreaks in Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, Central America, and South America. You are at risk of getting Zika if:
- you live in or recently traveled to a Zika outbreak area and if you were bitten by mosquitos while there, or;
- you have had unprotected sex (no condom) with a male who lives in or recently traveled to a Zika outbreak area.
Also, unborn babies may be at risk if a woman is infected with Zika while pregnant. The virus may cause microcephaly (small head syndrome) in babies born to women who are infected while pregnant. More studies are being done to learn about how Zika affects unborn babies.
“Although currently there is no risk for local transmission, our residents could be exposed to Zika virus through travel or sexual contact with anyone infected with Zika,” said Marin County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Lisa Santora.
It is hard to diagnose the Zika virus because many other illnesses have the same symptoms. Four out of five infected people will not have any symptoms. Common symptoms of the Zika virus are fever, eye redness, achy joints, and a skin rash. Almost all people with Zika get better without any special treatment, and most do not get very sick or require hospitalization.
There is no vaccine to prevent Zika. The best way to prevent Zika is to avoid mosquito bites. Everyone should follow travel guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Pregnant women should delay travel to a Zika outbreak area, if possible. Men who have a pregnant sexual partner and who may have been exposed to Zika should abstain from sexual activity or use condoms consistently and correctly during sex.
Marin HHS is working with local health care providers to test for the Zika virus. In addition, County staff is coordinating with the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District on education and response plans. The Vector Control District has a mosquito surveillance program for the detection of invasive Aedes mosquitoes.
What can a Marin resident do to reduce the risk of Zika? Mosquito season has arrived, so residents should maintain, manage or eliminate all types of outdoor standing water on a regular basis. Report mosquito problems, especially aggressive daytime biting mosquitoes, to the Vector Control District at or online at www.msmosquito.com.
The list of countries with active Zika spread is changing each week, so visit the CDC’s website for the most updated information.