First case of Zika virus confirmed in Orange County

- Orange County has seen its first case of the Zika virus, local health officials said Thursday.

A Costa Mesa resident in his 40s contracted the virus during a trip to Central America in late January, according to the Orange Health Care Agency, which would not specify which country he visited.

The man, who did not notice symptoms until early last month, did not require hospitalization for his ``mild illness'' and is fine now, according to Dr. Matthew Zahn, the HCA's medical director of Disease Control and Epidemiology.

Typical symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. Health officials are mainly concerned about the virus affecting pregnant women, which can lead to birth defects such as an abnormally small head and brain.

Otherwise, the virus rarely leads to severe illness, Zahn said.

No one has contracted the virus in the U.S., but the invasive Aedes mosquito, which can transmit it, has been located in Orange County.

"There is no vaccine to protect against Zika infection,'' Zahn said. "People who travel to areas with active transmission of Zika must take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.''

Travelers are advised to wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants and to use mosquito repellent.

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