Santa Barbara County Public Health officials confirmed the first case of travel-associated Zika Virus in Santa Barbara County on Thursday.
The resident who tested positive for Zika is a pregnant woman, who had recently traveled to Central America. Health officials did not identify the patient nor the city where she resides citing patient privacy.
Zika Virus-carrying mosquitoes, specifically the yellow fever mosquito and the Asian tiger mosquito, are not believed to exist in Santa Barbara County. However, the Santa Barbara County Mosquito and Vector Management District has increased their surveillance of "Aedes mosquitoes."
“There is currently no risk for contracting Zika virus in Santa Barbara County via infected mosquitoes,” said Dr. Charity Dean, Santa Barbara County Health Officer. “Taking precautions when traveling to areas with Zika virus, or engaging in sexual contact with someone at risk for Zika infection, are the best ways to avoid contracting the virus.”
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department suggests following these preventative measures to protect yourself and your family against Zika:
- Use EPA-registered insect repellents
- Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants
- Use air conditioning and window/door screens
- Empty standing water from containers such as flower pots or water buckets
- Zika can also be transmitted through sexual contact. If your partner has traveled to an area with Zika or if you are pregnant or considering getting pregnant, it is important to protect yourself during sexual activity.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that pregnant women postpone travel to regions where the virus has been identified.
4 out of 5 infected people will not have any symptoms of infection and almost all people with Zika get better without any special treatment. Common symptoms include fever, eye redness, achy joints and a skin rash. The greatest concern is for unborn babies when the pregnant mother is infected with Zika. In these situations, the virus can cause microcephaly (small head syndrome), brain damage and other birth defects. There is no vaccine to prevent Zika, although research is underway.
For additional information on the Zika Virus, visit http://cosb.countyofsb.org/zika_Virus.
You may report any mosquito problems to the Mosquito Vector Management District at http://www.mvmdistrict.com.