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Monterey County Reports First Case Of Travel-Related Zika Virus

MONTEREY (CBS SF) -- Health officials in Monterey County announced earlier this week that a resident has become the county's first travel-related Zika virus infection.

The person traveled to Central America in June and July and developed symptoms upon returning to the U.S. The virus is transmitted by the aedes aegypti and aedes albopictus mosquitoes, which are not native to California, according to county health officials.

Until recently, all cases of the virus have been found only in people who have traveled outside the U.S. or transmitted the virus through sexual contact.

But on Friday, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that doctors detected in Florida the first four cases of the virus they believe were transmitted by mosquitoes in the U.S., county health officials said.

As of Friday, 114 travel-related cases were reported in California. Twenty-one of those cases are in pregnant women, according to county health officials.

A Zika infection has been linked to microcephaly and hearing and vision impairments in infants and stillbirth. Microcephaly causes children to be born with abnormally small heads.

County director of public health Dr. Edward Moreno encourages pregnant women or those planning to get pregnant to avoid traveling to areas where Zika virus transmission is occurring.

Any couples who are expecting and who may have been exposed to the virus should see their obstetricians, according to Moreno.

Anyone traveling to areas where the virus is being transmitted should make an effort to avoid mosquito bites by applying mosquito repellent with DEET, oil of eucalyptus, IR3535, or para-menthane-diol.

Long-sleeved shirts, pants and mosquito nets are also effective, according to county health officials.

The virus is being transmitted in Mexico, South America, Central America and some Pacific Islands.

Most people with the virus do not show any symptoms, but some have symptoms such as fever, rash, joint pain, headaches and red eyes. Symptoms appear about three to seven days after exposure and last for several days to a week, county health officials said.

Treatment is limited to medication for fever and joint pain and supportive care such as rest.

Mothers can transmit the virus to their unborn children and while giving birth. The virus is also transmitted sexually and through blood transfusions, according to county health officials.

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