An adolescent girl who traveled from Los Angeles County to El Salvador in November last year was infected with the mosquito-transmitted Zika virus.
The department of public health said that the girl, the county’s first known case of Zika, has since recovered.
No transmission of Zika virus infection has occurred in California or any other U.S. state but the virus has long been present in Africa and Asia, and it’s caused alarm after appearing last year in Brazil, where it’s suspected of causing birth defects.
Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning travelers to take precautions and protect themselves from mosquitoes when visiting other countries.
Airlines and cruise companies are now allowing pregnant woman to cancel, change or postpone their trips to areas in the Caribbean and South America affected by the Zika virus.
President Barack Obama met with leaders from the CDC, National Institutes of Health and the Health and Human Services Department Tuesday to discuss the spread of the Zika virus in the Americas. He emphasized the need to accelerate research efforts to make better diagnostic tests available and to develop vaccines and treatments.
While transmission of the virus hasn’t occurred in the continental U.S., mosquitoes capable of carrying the virus are present in the San Gabriel Valley and eastern part of L.A. County.
“At this time, local transmission is unlikely,” according to a L.A. County Department of Public Health statement. “It would require an Aedes mosquito biting a Zika infected person and then biting others.”
Zika virus is named for a forest just outside Uganda’s capital, Kampala, where it was first discovered in a monkey in 1947.
Zika-affected countries included 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. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov and www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.