Texas reports possible local transmission of Zika virus

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McAllen, Texas Health workers Gerardo Valdez, and Aaron Salazar captured and tested live mosquitos in April, as part of the state's efforts to prepare for the disease. Texas how now confirmed its first case of transmission of the virus. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

McAllen, Texas Health workers Gerardo Valdez, and Aaron Salazar captured and tested live mosquitos in April, as part of the state’s efforts to prepare for the disease. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

Local mosquitoes likely transmitted Zika virus to a Texas woman, state health officials announced Monday. If confirmed, Texas would become the second state in the U.S., after Florida, with local transmission of the mosquito-borne disease that causes microcephaly and other birth defects.

The infected woman lives in the Rio Grande Valley, which borders Mexico, where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had set travel warnings regarding the virus. Health officials did not release the patient’s name, but stated she is not pregnant and had not traveled to Florida, Mexico or other Zika-affected regions.

“We knew it was only a matter of time before we saw a Zika case spread by a mosquito in Texas,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, Texas Department of State Health Services commissioner.

Last week a lab test confirmed the diagnosis last week, Texas health officials stated.

“We still don’t believe the virus will become widespread in Texas, but there could be more cases, so people need to protect themselves from mosquito bites, especially in parts of the state that stay relatively warm in the fall and winter,” Dr. Hellerstedt said.

The first locally transmitted cases of Zika virus in the U.S.surfaced in Miami in July.

The illness spreads from mosquito bites and in rare cases, through exchange of bodily fluids.

If you live in or plan to visit southern Texas, visit www.texaszika.org for more information.

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