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First Zika case reported in the Coachella Valley

The woman contracted Zika while traveling.

INDIO, Calif. - A Coachella Valley woman has tested positive for the Zika virus, which health officials said she contracted while traveling to Guatemala.

The woman, who officials have declined to identify, is not pregnant and was expected to fully recover. Officials say she is the second Riverside County resident to test positive for the virus and the first from the Coachella Valley. The other case was detected in southern Riverside County.  Both instances involved travel.

The woman had symptoms of Zika and saw a local healthcare provider.   She was tested and confirmed positive, said Barbara Cole, director of Riverside County Disease Control.

"If someone is in an area where there are lots of cases, then might talk to their healthcare provider about testing," said Cole.  "Just recently some of the commercial labs are able to test for Zika, or they can call public health and we facilitate testing."

Authorities did not confirm where the woman lives in the Coachella Valley, however local vector control officials will be conducting robust mosquito control measures in Palm Springs and Cathedral City, in the areas bordered by Tachevah Drive, Date Palm Drive, 30th Avenue and Landau Boulevard.

These efforts will include setting mosquito traps, sending trapped mosquitoes for arboviral testing, searching for standing water sources and other potential breeding sites, and conducting door-to-door inspections.

Jill Oviatt of the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control says starting Thursday, district employees will put up fliers and door hangers in the area, and set up traps that will be monitored for four weeks.  They'll also be looking for standing water sources and active mosquito sites in the area.

"There have been no Aedes aegypti detected in Cathedral City, or anywhere else in the CV, other than the city of Coachella," said Oviatt,  "But when there is a human case in an area, it triggers a response plan by the district to carry out enhanced surveillance in that area.  Not just to look for those mosquitoes that we know can transmit Zika (like Aedes Egypti), but also, the local mosquitoes that we don't know yet if they transmit the virus."

Around 80 percent of infected patients never have symptoms, while illness may develop in 20 percent of infected people within three to seven days of being bitten, according to health officials. Common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis, muscle pain and headache. Symptoms are usually mild, officials say, and can last for several days to a week.

Serious, but rare, complications include abnormal brain development in a baby whose pregnant mother is infected.

Last week, the California Department of Public Health reported two cases of Zika-related birth defects in California. State health officials say that while mosquitoes capable of carrying Zika have been found in 12 California counties, ``there is no evidence these mosquitoes are transmitting Zika in the state at this time.''


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