Zika Update: Texas Confirms Local Case, Becomes Second US State With The Mosquito Virus Infection
A new case of Zika infection was reported in Texas, Nov. 28, making it the second state in the United States to have mosquitoes spreading the disease. According to the laboratory tests, a woman from Brownsville, Texas is the new American patient.
The woman has not been to Mexico recently, neither has she traveled to any other region that is affected by Zika, such as Brazil, Colombia or Honduras. Also, she is not pregnant, which is a significant matter in this context, as the virus is known to cause significant brain damage to unborn children (and, more recently, even after birth, provided that the mother contracted the virus while carrying the baby).
Zika Infected Woman From Texas
The virus was identified in the patient's urine, but not in the blood test, which is good news as far as mosquito bites are concerned, meaning that the virus will not be transmitted further to other people, potentially infesting pregnant women.
Zika virus is primarily transmitted through the bites of mosquitoes from the Aedes aegypti species, but it can also be transmitted through sexual intercourse from a partner to another, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The first Zika infection in the United States was reported back in July, when four cases were registered in Florida, while Puerto Rico reported over 31,000 cases to the CDC.
"Texas is doing the right thing by increasing local surveillance and trapping and testing mosquitoes in the Brownsville area," according to a statement by the CDC director.
Precaution Against The Spread Of Zika
Among the instructions that the Texas Department of Health Services lists as precaution, the first is avoiding at all costs, whenever possible, any geographic area where there is an outburst of the virus, and women who are already pregnant should also avoid sexual intercourse with partners who have been exposed to areas where there are registered cases.
However, provided that a trip in these locations cannot be avoided, insect repellent that is EPA approved is a must for all travelers (as well as for the locals), along with wearing long pants and shirts with long sleeves in order to prevent skin exposure which facilitates the mosquito bites.
Fever, itchy rash, joint pain and eye redness are the most common symptoms that announce infestation with the virus has taken place. Any of these symptoms associated with a trip in the affected areas should be followed by a medical consultation and screening, in order to avoid further transmitting the virus to pregnant women.