Zika virus in the Bay Area
The Zika virus is carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is found throughout much of Latin America and now also much of North America, and the recent outbreak has occurred across a vast swath of territory from Brazil to the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico. Affected countries are seeing an increase in birth defects like microcephaly, a condition in which a baby’s head is significantly smaller than expected, and rare neurological conditions like Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune response that can result in severe temporary paralysis and also death.
In the U.S., about 20 residents have tested positive for the virus. Among them was a mother in Hawaii whose baby was born this month with the neurological disorder. In the Bay Area, at least one pregnant woman in Berkeley is undergoing testing. In Contra Costa County, public health department spokeswoman Victoria Balladares said two confirmed cases have been recorded.
Several more Bay Area cases of the Zika virus were either reported or confirmed one day after Napa County public health officials confirmed a pregnant woman who had traveled to Central America had contracted the virus. The San Francisco Department of Public Health said Thursday that a San Francisco resident last month had tested positive for the Zika virus.
Watch out everyone! As a resident of the Bay Area myself, I have seen two mosquitoes over the past week.