Fort Worth, Texas,
11:32 AM

Zika virus confirmed in Tarrant County

Tarrant County Public Health identifies imported case

The first case of the ZIka virus has been confirmed in Tarrant County.

Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) identified the first imported case of Zika virus in the county, in a positive sample tested in TCPH’s North Texas Regional Laboratory.

TCPH says the patient traveled to a Caribbean country with known local transmission of the disease. No other health information will be released at this time to protect the identity of the patient.

Mary Suzanne Whitworth, M.D., medical director of Infectious Diseases at Cook Children’s, expressed confidence in the job of Tarrant County Public Health monitoring the situation locally. She said people should know that attention that is being paid to the spread of the Zika virus.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is keeping up with this on an hourly basis and monitoring this and will keep us informed,” Dr. Whitworth said. “It's important for people to remember that sexual transmission, mother to fetus and blood transfusion are the only person-to-person routes to get Zika. Currently, there's no casual contact transmission that happens person-to-person."

TCPH says: “Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is typically mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika.”

Sexual transmission of Zika virus can also occur and is of particular concern during pregnancy. TCPH adds: "If a person infected with Zika virus is bit by an Aedes mosquito, that mosquito may later bite another person and spread the virus further."

“The most important thing residents can do is to eliminate mosquito breeding sites around their home,” said TCPH Health Director Vinny Taneja. “When we stop the breeding cycle, we help stop the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.”

Although the beginning of mosquito season is still several weeks away, residents are encouraged to maintain their properties to reduce mosquito breeding sites. Residents should:

  • Routinely dump standing water on their property,
  • Overturn all small containers,
  • Dispose of any trash or debris that can contain small amounts of water.

TCPH has produced a video to help residents Eliminate Mosquito Breeding Sites.

County residents can also call the health department’s Zika Hotline (817-248-6299), if they have questions about this disease. For more information on Zika virus and for other useful tips, click here.

More resources:

Zika virus information from Cook Children's

Zika: From nuisance to 'genuine threat to public health'

How to fight and win against mosquitoes

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Zika site 

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