CULVER CITY ( — The Zika virus has many Southern Californians concerned, especially those with ties to the hardest hit nation: Brazil.

“It’s scary,” said Tita Wright, whose aunt in Brazil recently tested positive for the mosquito-borne virus with no known cure or treatment.

“Cold-like symptoms. She was very tired. She had some rashes,” said Wright of her aunt.

Brazil is the hardest hit of at least 20 countries where Zika has been found.

The virus is mainly spread by a certain type of mosquito not yet seen in the U.S. Only about one in five people who get it will become sick and the symptoms are mild.

“Fever, a rash, muscle and joint pain, eye pain and eye swelling, and in some cases headaches and muscle fatigue,” said Nirav D. Shah, a doctor with the Illinois Department of Health.

But for pregnant women, Zika has been linked to babies born with microcephaly, an abnormally small head, often with brain damage.

Brazil has more than 4,000 cases and the country is warning women to postpone pregnancy.

“This is so dangerous,” said Renan Abreu, who just moved to Los Angeles from Brazil a month ago.

Abreu is worried Zika will cast a shadow on the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and says he’s now praying for a vaccine.

“I’m hopeful, but I’m worried because I have friends and I have family there,” he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending pregnant women avoid traveling to Brazil and countries where the virus is active.

The American Red Cross is also asking prospective donors who have visited Zika-affected areas to wait a month before giving blood.


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