Texas health official reported the state's first case of Zika virus transmitted by local mosquitoes on Monday (28 November).
Texas health officials are working with the Centers for Disease Control to investigate the case and to respond with outreach and possibly more mosquito surveillance. Results from a urine test turned up genetic material from Zika, although a blood test was negative, which meant mosquitoes could no longer transfer the virus from her blood.
The CDC said there have been 4,444 reported cases of Zika in the United States and Hawaii since November 23, 2016. For more information on the Zika virus visit the CDC's site here, and get further information on how the disease is affecting Texas here.
The woman who contracted the illness is not pregnant, according to the Washington Post. DSHS also recommends testing pregnant women who have two or more of the typical Zika symptoms in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Webb, Willacy or Zapata counties without travel history, and anyone with at least three symptoms statewide.
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After that disturbing finding, however, reports arose that Texas A&M University researchers have uncovered a potentially novel way to slow the spread of Zika, yellow fever and similar mosquito-borne diseases.
Officials are conducting tests at the woman's home and the surrounding area. "There's perhaps more activity back and forth across some of the areas that have active transmission", Huang said.
State and local officials in Texas proactively issued Health Alerts in October 2016 expanding the testing criteria for Zika virus disease. We know how to keep the Zika virus at bay, by spraying for mosquitoes, getting rid of their breeding grounds, and protecting people with clothing and repellent. "The season is not yet over, and we're going to need to continue to strictly monitor what's happening in order to adjust to the risks as they occur".
Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly and other severe brain defects and is associated with other adverse pregnancy outcomes in fetuses and infants. Health officials do not expect the virus will become widespread in Texas. The city is now taking steps to reduce the mosquito population, and DSHS and Cameron County officials are going door-to-door to educate citizens about Zika and reduce potential breeding zones for mosquitoes. Her case is likely the first known instance of Zika transmission by local mosquitoes in the state.
Florida now has the capacity to test 6,063 people for active Zika virus and 5,209 for Zika antiboidies. Those who have traveled to affected regions in the past two months are advised to avoid any sexual contact or wear condoms if their partner is pregnant.