Health Officials Looking Into 20 Potential Zika Virus Cases In LA County

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Health officials Wednesday issued another warning for Los Angeles County residents to take precautions against mosquito bites, especially for those planning to travel to areas experiencing outbreaks of the Zika virus.

The county’s interim health officer, Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser told reporters pregnant women in particular should avoid traveling altogether to
affected areas, including Latin America, the Caribbean and Puerto Rico, since the virus can case birth defects.

While officials say there is only one confirmed case of the virus in Los Angeles – an adolescent girl who traveled to El Salvador in late November – authorities are looking into around 20 other potential cases countywide. The girl has since recovered.

“The most important messages concern people who may be traveling to locations in the world were Zika virus outbreaks are currently occurring, and
advising them on measures they need to take to protect their own health and prevent bringing the disease back here to Los Angeles County,” Gunzenhauser said.

The only known case of transmission of the virus in the U.S. was confirmed this week in Texas, and it was done through sexual contact.

According to Gunzenhauser, anyone concerned about whether they may be at risk of contracting Zika through sexual transmission should “consider whether or not they want to wear a condom or some other type of barrier to prevent transmitting.”

To prevent the spread of the virus in Los Angeles County, residents are being asked to remove any standing water from their homes and yards – even small cups and bottle caps that can hold enough water to incubate mosquito eggs.

Updates of affected countries and traveler health notices are posted on the CDC website and more information on the virus can be found at LACounty.gov.

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