Zika cases in San Diego County have risen to 22 and that number is expected to increase, according to local health officials.
All of the local cases involve people who contracted Zika from another country and one was sexually transmitted, says Dr. Dayone Thihalolipavan, Deputy Public Health Officer for the Health & Human Services Agency.
But health officials from the Health & Human Services Agency in San Diego told NBC 7, they are preparing for the possibility of a local outbreak especially since more travel is expected to countries where Zika is present due to the Olympics.
Concerns over Zika increased in the U.S. after the mosquitos in Florida tested positive for the virus and could be the cause of two possible non-travel related cases.
“We are internally planning, very actively. I think the Florida case has made it very real,” Thihalolipavan said.
In California, two babies were born with Zika-related defects, the California Department of Public Health confirmed on Thursday. The mothers of the babies had spent time in countries where the virus is circulating.
Thihalolipavan says that San Diego has all the elements needed for a local outbreak due to people traveling this summer. America’s Finest City is also home to the Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes which are known to be more likely to spread Zika.
But according to Thihalolipavan, there are no local transmissions, meaning there have been no Zika cases that were contracted locally.
“Most people to get Zika don’t get any symptoms or get very mild symptoms — low grade fever, rash, joint pain or redness in their eye,” he said.
Thihalolipavan says to help prevent an outbreak; the effort has to come from everyone.
“Even if you don’t travel during the summer, it’s always important to stay vigilant to prevent protect and report,” he said.
He advises San Diegans to wear long sleeves and use mosquito repellants.