Texas announces its first locally transmitted Zika case

Health Officials: Zika No Longer a Crisis in Miami Beach

Texas reported its first case of locally transmitted Zika on Monday, becoming the second state in the United States to confirm local transmission of the virus.

A woman who has not travelled in any Zika spreading area and is not pregnant was "was confirmed last week by lab test to have been infected", the Texas Department of State Health Services said. In February, DSHS officials feared a "transmission cycle" could happen as did in Florida because Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry Zika are native to Texas.

THe person has not traveled to any region recently in which Zika viruses are active.

While most northern states in the U.S. are protected from local Zika transmission because the cold kills mosquitoes in the winter, researchers predict that the virus could be in southern states like Texas and Florida permanently. About 4,400 people have tested positive for Zika in USA states and the District of Columbia, though the vast majority of cases are linked to travel overseas.

And surprising new research released last week reported that fetuses exposed to the Zika virus can look normal at birth but later show signs of microcephaly and other brain abnormalities. If a woman is pregnant or is considering becoming pregnant, she should be evaluated for possible Zika virus exposure during each prenatal care visit.

Travel back-and-forth across the border is a way of life in the Valley, and news reports from Mexico indicate Zika transmission by mosquitoes in multiple communities on the Mexican side of the border.

Texas is one of several USA states where Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which carry Zika, are present.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is helping the state investigate. She felt ill and a doctor ordered a Zika test. The mosquitoes that are the main drivers of the virus thrive in hot, humid climates, and experts had identified South Texas as one of the most likely locations to see the virus spread by local mosquitoes. The city is now taking steps to reduce the mosquito population, and DSHS and Cameron County officials are going door-to-door to educate citizens about Zika and reduce potential breeding zones for mosquitoes. Those numbers do not include the Texas case, the CDC said.

DSHS is asking all medical professionals to keep Zika virus in mind when diagnosing patients with similar symptoms.

Most adults who are infected with Zika experience mild symptoms.

When a Texan baby died from Zika-linked microcephaly in August, the health department released a statement making it clear that the mother had travelled to Latin America and said there were no additional local risks.

Using EPA-approved insect repellent.

A vaccine or treatment for Zika virus infection isn't now available.

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