LOS ANGELES – Amid news that two infants were born in California with Zika-related birth defects, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Thursday warned pregnant women to exercise caution if they plan to travel to areas affected by the virus.
According to state health officials, the two affected California infants were born to women who developed Zika infections during pregnancy after spending time in a country where the virus is “endemic.” There is no evidence that mosquitoes are transmitting the virus in the state, health officials said.
State officials did not reveal where in California the infants were born.
Regardless, Los Angeles County health officials said the news should be a reminder to pregnant women about the dangers of Zika.
“Travel remains the biggest risk for residents who are concerned about Zika,” said Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, the county’s interim health officer. “That’s especially true for women who are pregnant and those who would like to get pregnant. Everyone travelling to Zika-affected areas should take measures to prevent infection by mosquitoes, to include avoiding outdoor exposure, using EPA-approved insect repellent, wearing loose-fitting clothing that covers arms and legs and pretreatment of clothing with permethrin, if possible.
“Individuals who have traveled to Zika-affected areas should take steps to prevent the possible transmission of Zika to sexual partners, to include proper use of condoms,” he said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a travel alert, urging women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant to postpone travel to Zika-affected areas.
County health officials said there have been no reports of local transmission of the virus, although the Aedes mosquito that is capable of doing so is present in the San Gabriel Valley and other eastern parts of the county.
There have been 24 cases of Zika infection in the county, all involving people who traveled to areas affected by Zika, primarily Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
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