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Texas Reports First Case Of Zika Virus By Local Mosquitoes

First Posted: Nov 30, 2016 10:36 AM EST
MCALLEN, TX - APRIL 14: A city environmental health worker displays literature to be distrubuted to the public on April 14, 2016 in McAllen, Texas. Health departments, especially in areas along the Texas-Mexico border, are preparing for the expected arrival of the Zika Virus, carried by the aegypti mosquito, which is endemic to the region. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), announced this week that Zika is the definitive cause of birth defects seen in Brazil and other countries affected by the outbreak.
MCALLEN, TX - APRIL 14: A city environmental health worker displays literature to be distrubuted to the public on April 14, 2016 in McAllen, Texas. Health departments, especially in areas along the Texas-Mexico border, are preparing for the expected arrival of the Zika Virus, carried by the aegypti mosquito, which is endemic to the region. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), announced this week that Zika is the definitive cause of birth defects seen in Brazil and other countries affected by the outbreak.
(John Moore/Getty Images)

A woman living in Cameron County near the Mexico border, who is not pregnant, is the first case in the state of Texas who has been hit with Zika which is spread by local mosquitoes.  She has not travelled to Mexico or anywhere.  Health officials said that before this, all 257 Zika cases in Texas have been contracted while travelling.  This makes Texas the second US state to report local transmission of the virus. 

Health Officials Were Already Expecting This

Zika virus started spreading through the United States rapidly last year.  Florida is the first state to have reported local cases of the virus.  Dr John Hellerstedt, health department commissioner, said: "We knew it was only a matter of time before we saw a Zika case spread by a mosquito in Texas. We still don't believe the virus will become widespread in Texas, but there could be more cases, so people need to protect themselves from mosquito bites." 

There Is No Vaccine Nor Treatment For Zika

Officials of the Cameron County and the City of Brownsville have already assessed the woman's home and began trapping and testing mosquitoes to understand how widespread the virus is.  They also recently sprayed for mosquitoes in the area. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas R. Frieden said: "Even though it is late in the mosquito season, mosquitoes can spread Zika in some areas of the country.  Texas is doing the right thing by increasing local surveillance and trapping and testing mosquitoes in the Brownsville area."

There is currently no treatment or vaccine available for Zika treatment.  Symptoms include mild fever, rash and red eyes. The virus poses a great risk to pregnant women because it can cause severe, life-threatening birth defects, including microcephaly - a condition where a child is born with an abnormally small head. 

 

 

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