Yuma County confirms first case of Zika virus

YUMA, Ariz. –  Yuma County Public Health Services District confirmed Thursday the first case of Zika virus in a Yuma County resident.

Officials said the individual traveled outside of the United States to a Zika affected area before developing symptoms of illness. This marks the fourteenth case of travel-associated Zika virus in Arizona.

Diana Gomez, the Director of Public Health for Yuma County, says the individual who was infected to the proper steps so the virus did not spread.

Gomez says the person is feeling better, “They are in good health, they did everything they needed to do and we are grateful that people had taken those precautions to protect themselves and the community.”

She adds the risk of Zika spreading in Yuma is nearly non-existent, “They followed all the right precautions so we believe that any risk of any local transmission is low to non-existent.”

“We have a strong surveillance system in Yuma County and believe the risk of viral spread here throughout Yuma County is very low. The most important factor in keeping the risk low is the vigilance of county residents in identifying and eliminating possible breeding grounds,” said Gomez.

The Zika virus is primarily transmitted by the bite of an infected Aedes Aegypti mosquito. Mosquitoes that spread Zika are active day and night and are skilled at finding breeding sites inside and outside homes. Most people infected with the Zika virus do not become ill, and those who do become ill have symptoms that may include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis. Severe illness and hospitalization due to Zika virus is rare.

“Health District vector control technicians survey Yuma County year-round and they regularly set traps to monitor and treat areas that have routinely been mosquito breeding sites to help minimize the risks of mosquito-borne diseases. They also work with the Arizona Department of Health Services’ Lab to test mosquitoes for the Zika and Dengue viruses,” said Gomez.

Officials said as soon as Public health officials were made aware of the suspected case they made contact with the individual to ensure they were aware of prevention measures such as staying indoors, using DEET mosquito repellant, and wearing long sleeves in an effort to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes to prevent further spread of the virus.

Yuma County experiences mosquito activity in the warmer months, with highest mosquito activity from June through September. County residents should continue to drain and remove containers of water, even small ones, which provide a good breeding ground for those mosquito eggs. Please contact the Environmental Health Department or utilize our service request portal to report green pools.

More information about Zika can be found on the Arizona Department of Health Services Zika Information Portal http://azhealth.gov/zika.

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