First Case of Locally Transmitted Dengue Virus Reported in California
Pasadena health officials have confirmed an “extremely rare” case of local transmission of the dengue virus, marking the first known case in California to occur in someone who had not recently traveled. The news was reported by NBC Los Angeles over the weekend.
In a statement, Dr. Matthew Feaster, an epidemiologist with the Pasadena Public Health Department, assured the public that this was likely an isolated incident and that the risk of additional dengue exposure in Pasadena is very low.
According to health officials, a person can be infected with the dengue virus from an infected Aedes mosquito. However, such occurrences in the United States almost always happen in travelers who have visited other nations where dengue is found.
The patient, who remains unidentified, is said to be recovering, and health officials are urging the public to take standard precautions against the spread of mosquitoes. ABC7 reported that mosquitoes require only a small amount of stagnant water to breed, which can quickly result in breeding sites around one’s property.
Officials believe that this case was likely due to a mosquito biting a person who was infected with the virus and spreading it to the new patient, as reported by Los Angeles NBC.
Symptoms of dengue can range from mild to severe and include fever, nausea, vomiting, rash, and body aches.
The city has taken action by deploying traps to assess the mosquito population. To date, testing has not identified any dengue-infected mosquitoes. However, officials will continue testing mosquitoes from additional traps over the next few weeks.
In light of this recent case, health officials have released standard precautionary tips to reduce mosquito populations. These include getting rid of standing water in clogged rain gutters, buckets, or anything that holds water for more than a week, properly maintaining swimming pools and reporting neglected pools, changing water in pet dishes and birdbaths every week, wearing insect repellent containing approved active ingredients, and wearing loosely fitted, light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
While this local transmission case of dengue virus is considered rare, health officials are working diligently to monitor and prevent any further spread of the disease.