Two infants with Zika-related microcephaly have been born in California to women who had Zika virus infections during pregnancy after spending time in a country where the virus is endemic, The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reported Thursday.


“This is a sobering reminder for Californians that Zika can cause serious harm to a developing fetus,” said CDPH Director and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “We join the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in urging pregnant women to avoid travel to areas with known Zika transmission. Pregnant women who must travel to one of these areas should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites and speak with a health care provider upon return.”

“Zika virus can also be transmitted to sexual partners by both males and females. Both men and women of childbearing age should take precautions if they have recently traveled, or plan to travel, to a location where Zika is spreading,” added Dr. Smith.

While mosquitoes that can carry the virus have been found in 12 California counties, there is no evidence these mosquitoes are transmitting Zika in the state at this time.

A team of experts across several disciplines at CDPH is working closely with local public health departments, vector control agencies and the medical community to ensure that California is responding aggressively and appropriately to the emerging threat of Zika virus. CDPH is actively monitoring all pregnant women with Zika infection in California. The Department is also collaborating with local health departments to provide assistance to families with infants born with Zika-related birth defects to ensure they receive appropriate medical care. Infants born to mothers with confirmed infections will be monitored for one year.

As of July 29, CDPH has confirmed 114 travel-associated Zika virus infections in 22 counties. A total of 21 infections have been confirmed in pregnant women.

Nationally, 1,818 travel-associated cases have been reported through Aug. 3, including 16 sexually transmitted cases. Florida has seen 15 non-travel related cases in the immediate Miami area.

479 cases have been reported in pregnant women in the United States with any laboratory evidence of possible Zika virus infection, with or without symptoms. 15 babies have been born in the United States with Zika-related birth defects, along with 6 pregnancy losses related to Zika virus, according to CDC data.