First case of Zika believed to be transmitted by mosquito in Texas
What you can do to protect your family
The Texas Department of State Health Services announced today the first case of the Zika virus disease likely transmitted by a mosquito in Texas.
The patient lives in Cameron County in the Rio Grande Valley and was confirmed last week by a lab test to be infected. She is not pregnant and reported no recent travel to Mexico or anywhere else with ongoing Zika virus transmission and no other risk factors.
“This is not surprising. We knew this would happen eventually because Texas is so close to Mexico,” said Mary Suzanne Whitworth, M.D., medical director of Infectious Diseases at Cook Children’s. “Mosquitoes don’t have borders. The good news is at this time of the year, we should get our first freeze soon and the mosquitoes in the Fort Worth/Dallas area should die out for the winter."
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. Due to the risk of birth defects associated with Zika, pregnant women should avoid traveling to Mexico and should avoid sexual contact or use condoms with partners who have traveled there.
Other precautions include:
Using EPA-approved insect repellent.
Wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts that cover exposed skin.
Using air conditioning or window and door screens that are in good repair to keep mosquitoes out of homes.
Removing standing water in and around homes, including water in trash cans, toys, tires, flower pots and any other container that can hold water.
Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito, though sexual transmission can occur. The four most common symptoms are fever, itchy rash, joint pain and eye redness. While symptoms are usually minor, Zika can also cause severe birth defects, including microcephaly, and other poor birth outcomes in some women infected during pregnancy.
Through last week, Texas has had 257 confirmed cases of Zika virus disease. Until now, all cases had been associated with travel, including two infants born to women who had traveled during their pregnancy and two people who had sexual contact with infected travelers.
Additional information on cases and for the public is available at www.texaszika.org.
About the source
Mary Suzanne Whitworth, M.D. is the medical director of Infectious Diseases at Cook Children’s, which offers care for children and teens with diseases caused by bacteria, parasites, fungi or viruses. Our team provides a broad range of services including diagnosis, inpatient and outpatient consultations, immune deficiency evaluations and treatment of recurring infections.