Texas has reported its first case of locally transmitted Zika virus, making it the second state in which the disease is believed to have been spread from person to person by mosquitoes. The Texas Department of State Health Services made the report in late November.
Local transmission of the Zika virus was identified in Florida in July 2016. Miami-Dade County quickly became a hotspot for the virus, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention later advised all pregnant women to avoid travel to the area to avoid infection.
How Zika Virus is Spreading
Zika virus is transmitted primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. To date, there have been 4,866 cases of disease reported in the United States, with 4,649 of those associated with travel to areas outside of the U.S. where the virus is spreading. Only 216 cases were locally acquired, although there are many more cases that go unreported. This is because Zika virus frequently causes no symptoms or only mild symptoms.
Although Zika virus has a mild effect on adults, it can be devastating for developing babies whose mothers are infected during pregnancy. Zika is known to cause the birth defect microcephaly and other neurological problems, as well as miscarriage and stillbirth among women who are infected while pregnant.
Be Vigilant Against Mosquitoes
Aedes mosquitoes are found throughout the southern and eastern United States. For those living in parts of the country that stay warm throughout the winter, it’s important to remain vigilant against mosquito bites. These precautions are especially important for pregnant women and those planning to become pregnant. The CDC also advises pregnant women to avoid travel to places where Zika is actively spreading.
Traveling? Head to RediClinic First
No matter your international destination, first come to a RediClinic walk-in clinic for the Travel Healthy package. Your clinician can administer any immunizations you need, and also provide a written report containing travel tips and destination-specific information to keep you healthy.