Zika virus found in Fresno County, health officials say

Tuesday, July 5, 2016
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Fears of the Zika virus hitting the Central Valley are now a reality after a Fresno County woman was diagnosed last week.

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fears of the Zika virus hitting the Central Valley are now a reality after a Fresno County woman was diagnosed last week.

This is the first case reported in Fresno County, but long before the discovery the Fresno Mosquito and Vector Control District has been spraying neighborhoods to protect people from Zika and other viruses like West Nile.

Tuesday morning the Fresno County Health Department confirmed a woman who lives in Fresno County received the mosquito-born virus when she traveled outside the United States last month.

Officials would not release the identity of the woman, or where she lives in Fresno County, but made it clear she will fully recover and that protecting everyone from the Zika Virus is a priority.

"I want to make sure that everybody in Fresno County is re-doubling their efforts to protect themselves from mosquito bites, both here at home and when they travel. And to re-double those efforts when they come back from countries that do have the on-going Zika Virus transmission," said Dr. Ken Bird, Fresno County Health Officer.

The woman was diagnosed two weeks ago when she checked in with her doctor after she had three of the four symptoms related to Zika.

Soon after, a mosquito abatement team went to the woman's home to set up surveillance traps that collect live mosquitos.

"And mosquitoes were collected, but not the vectors for the Zika Virus. The primary vectors for the Zika Virus, the primary vector is Aedes Aegypti. We do have that locally," said Steve Mulligan, Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District.

Health officials said the woman was bitten by a mosquito where the Zika Virus is very active. So there are concerns if she received another mosquito bite here it could spread the disease locally.

Cases of the Zika Virus have been widespread in the Caribbean, Central, and South America, but one local travel agency said their clients are concerned but not worried.

"They might ask you what vaccines are necessary, and what it is that they should worry about. And we usually do research before we send people to South America or any other country," said Ceci Rosales, De Alba Travel agent.

Now there is no known cure or vaccine for the virus, but local health officials said the woman will be fine in a few weeks.

Anyone who travels to infected areas are highly encouraged to use mosquito repellent to protect themselves.