A Los Angeles County woman has become the first local person to acquire the Zika virus through sexual contact after her partner returned from Mexico, public health officials announced Thursday.
Her partner, a male resident, traveled to Mexico and developed symptomatic Zika infection in early November, health officials said. She didn’t travel with him but developed the Zika infection after he returned to Los Angeles, public health officials added in a statement. The woman is one of nine statewide that contracted the virus through sex since 2015, state health officials said Thursday.
Since 2015, there have been 122 cases of Zika infection reported in Los Angeles County. Of those, 121 people acquired the virus from the bite of an infected mosquito during travel to areas where Zika is occurring.
Urgent concern about the Zika virus began to increase in 2015 and 2016 as news spread about the disease’s affect on newborn babies in Brazil. Federal and state health departments issued travel warnings to Latin American countries and the Caribbean where mosquitoes carrying the virus had been found. In California, there have been 634 cases since 2015 according to the most recent data from state officials. Almost all has been contracted through travel.
Only about 18 percent of those were from 2017, showing a decrease in the number of people who are contracting the disease while traveling, according to state data.