Dec. 22, 2016
The Texas Department of State Health Services
and Cameron County Department of Health and Human Services have identified an
additional Brownsville resident with a locally acquired case of Zika virus
disease. It is the sixth local mosquito-transmitted case in Cameron County and Texas
but is not thought to be connected to the other cases.
Local public health workers have responded to
the case by providing testing to members of the patient’s household and going
door-to-door in the area around the patient’s home. They’re working to identify
and offer testing to anyone with possible Zika symptoms and to all pregnant
women in the area with or without symptoms. Local officials have also been educating
neighbors about Zika and conducting environmental assessments to help reduce
mosquito habitats in the area.
The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention updated its testing guidance last week to recommend testing all
pregnant women living in Brownsville or who have travelled to Brownsville on or
after Oct. 29. DSHS continues to urge pregnant women and their health care
providers to follow that guidance and the recommendation to test pregnant women
who have traveled to places where Zika is being spread, including anywhere in
Recent cold temperatures combined with
mosquito control efforts have reduced the mosquito population in the area, but
warmer weather is forecast for at least the next week, so people should continue
avoiding mosquito bites by using mosquito repellent and wearing long sleeves
and pants. They should also dump out containers that hold standing water in and
around their homes to deny mosquitoes a place to lay their eggs.
Zika virus is
transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito,
though it can also spread by sexual contact. 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. DSHS
recommends pregnant women follow CDC advice to avoid traveling to locations
with sustained, local Zika transmission, including all areas of Mexico.
Pregnant women should also use condoms or avoid sexual contact with partners
who have traveled to those areas. Travelers and the general public can find
more information at TexasZika.org.
(News Media Contact: Chris
Van Deusen, DSHS Director of Media Relations, 512-776-7753)
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