Two babies were born with Zika-related microcephaly from mothers who were infected with the virus, the California Department of Public Health announced Thursday.
The women were infected from traveling to countries where the disease was endemic, according to the CDPH. The department said it would not release any additional information to protect the privacy of the families.
“This is a sobering reminder for Californians that Zika can cause serious harm to a developing fetus,” CDPH Director and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith said.
As of July 28, 15 babies had been born with Zika-related birth defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In California, 114 people were infected with the virus, including 21 pregnant women, the CDPH said. All cases were travel-related, the department said.
Los Angeles County has the highest number of infected people in the state, 24, followed by San Diego County at 23. Click here to see the county-by-county breakdown.
The Zika virus outbreak was first reported in Brazil when an unusually high number of babies there were born with microcephaly. An international public health emergency was declared in February as the outbreaks spread to dozens of countries in the Americas.
“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,” Smith said.
Last week, the CDC issued a travel advisory for the Miami area after 14 cases of locally acquired Zika were reported. Florida became the first state in the nation to confirm locally acquired Zika virus cases. Women who are pregnant were advised against travelling to Zika-infected areas.
Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that is characterized by a fever, rash and joint pain. While the illness typically resolves within a week, some severe cases may require hospitalization.
Until Friday, the 1,400 or so cases identified in the U.S. had all been contracted while people were traveling out of the U.S. or through sexual transmission. Last month, a man in New York became the first person to contract the virus through sexual intercourse with woman.
California joins New York, New Jersey and Florida as states that have had a baby born with a Zika virus-related defect.