CDC Encourages Awareness of Travel-Associated Zika Cases and Threat of Local Transmission during Global Outbreak

PUBLISHED: Aug 17, 2018
Relevant to: Ambulatory Care, Critical Access Hospitals, Hospitals, Medical Office

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging health care providers in California to be aware of the possibility of Zika virus infection.

According to the CDC, in less than a year after cases of Zika virus infection were reported from Brazil, the virus spread across South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and parts of Mexico. As is common for other mosquito-borne diseases, infections were eventually detected in Florida and Texas, USA. Attention is now being focused on California, where there is a growing number of the mosquitoes that transmit this virus (Aedes mosquitoes), and because California borders Mexico, where Zika virus is common.

In a report to be published next month Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID), researches reviewed all cases of Zika virus reported to the California Department of Public Health during November 2015–September 2017 and found 588 cases associated with travel to Zika virus–affected areas (especially Mexico and Central America). They also used mosquito surveillance data to map mosquito locations and found that Aedes mosquitoes had expanded into 12 additional counties in California.

Although Zika virus transmission and Zika case numbers have decreased across the Americas, continued, limited, local transmission is expected. While the risk for transmission in California is low, the CDC reports that there is a continuing threat. Healthcare providers should be aware of the possibility of this infection in travelers and pay special attention to pregnant women returning from Zika virus–affected areas.

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