A woman in Cameron County has become the first person in Texas to contract the Zika Virus without leaving the country.
On Monday, the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Cameron County Department of Health and Human Services jointly announced a lab test from last week showed the woman was positive for Zika, which was likely transmitted to her by a mosquito in Texas. The woman, who is from Brownsville -- near the border with Mexico -- told officials she had not recently traveled to Mexico or any other Zika-prone country.
Over the summer, Florida became the first state to see local mosquito transmission of Zika in the Miami-area. In response to this new case in Texas, state and regional health officials are taking additional precautions to prevent the further spread of the virus.
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District has been working closely with researchers at Baylor University to eliminate mosquito habitats and provide residents with updates on the movement of the virus. To read more about the county's mosquito mitigation efforts, click here.
At the state level, DSHS has activated its State Medical Operations Center, in a sign health experts are preparing for increased mosquito surveillance as they investigate the case in Cameron County. Though the woman who contracted Zika was not pregnant, the virus can cause birth defects in the children of women who are. To read more about Zika and Pregnancy, here is a link to resources from the Centers for Disease Control.
Below are some tips from DSHS for preventing yourself from contracting Zika:
- Pregnant women should avoid traveling to Mexico and avoid sexual contact with people who have gone there
- Use EPA-approved insect repellant
- Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts to minimize the chance of a mosquito bite
- Use screen windows and doors to prevent mosquitos from entering your home
- Remove standing water near and around your home