A 50-year-old man who lives in southwest Riverside County has the county’s first confirmed case of the Zika virus, authorities said Tuesday.
The unidentified patient had recently traveled to the Dominican Republic, and did not acquire the infection in Southern California, according to Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser. He is expected to fully recover.
“While Riverside County is one of the last counties in Southern California to have a confirmed case, we always knew it would happen eventually,” Kaiser said in a statement. “We will continue working with our partners in health care and vector control to protect our residents, especially pregnant women and the unborn, who are most at risk.”
Zika-infected mosquitoes, which spread the virus by biting people, are present in the Dominican Republic. The virus can also be spread to sexual partners through the semen of an infected man.
Most people with the infection do not have any symptoms, and those who do generally have mild symptoms including fever, rash and joint pain. The virus in pregnant women has been linked to microcephaly, in which newborns show abnormal brain development.
There is no vaccine for Zika, which has not been acquired anywhere within the United States.
The California Department of Public Health has warned travelers to Latin America and the Caribbean to take measures to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
As of Friday, July 1, 68 California residents have been infected with the virus, with all of the cases associated with travel, according to the department’s figures.
In Southern California, 19 patients have been infected in Los Angeles County, six in Orange County, and three in San Bernardino County. Ventura County has no reported cases. San Diego County has had 16 cases, including one nonresident patient