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Travel Warning Issued After Reported Case Of Zika Virus In L.A. County

The virus is spread via Aedes mosquitos (Photo by Chik_77 via Shutterstock)
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A warning has been issued for SoCal travelers, especially those who are pregnant, after a reported case of Zika virus in L.A. County. Today, L.A. County health officials are warning of the Zika virus, as an outbreak has been reported in 21 countries, including Puerto Rico, Mexico and El Salvador. So far, there's only been one confirmed case of the virus in L.A. County. In this particular instance, the infected was a young girl who had traveled to El Salvador in November. She has since recovered. Another case was discovered in Arkansas, and another in Virginia.

According to the CDC, symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes, and they typically kick in after a few days. About one in five people who are exposed will actually become sick. The illness usually isn't too severe, but can last up to a week. Most people will not have to go to the hospital and deaths are very rare. However, the virus is particularly dangerous for pregnant women, as it has been associated with developmental disorders and miscarriages. Some reports from Brazil indicate that pregnant women who were exposed to the Zika virus had babies born with microcephaly, or, a smaller than usual head. Microcephaly can lead to intellectual disability, seizures and issues with vision, hearing and balance. The CDC cautions that more studies will have to be done on the relationship between pregnancy issues and Zika virus, however.

Zika virus spreads via Aedes mosquitos. This type of mosquito can be found in the San Gabriel Valley, but in order for it to be a problem, one of those mosquitos would have to bite an infected person, then bite other people. So far, all cases of Zika virus in the U.S. have occurred in people who recently traveled to an affected country, meaning that we have no evidence yet to conclude that it's being spread locally.

Health officials suggest wearing clothing that covers arms and legs and to use bug spray when traveling. If you're pregnant, they suggest avoiding affected areas altogether.

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The affected countries are: Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Martin, Suriname, Venezuela and Puerto Rico.

You can access all of the CDC's travel advisories here.

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