The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was recently informed that a resident of Brownsville, Texas, was diagnosed with the Zika virus without any other known risk factors, which suggests the virus may have been locally transmitted.
The recent diagnosis represents the first such case of Zika transmission in the state of Texas. CDC officials said they are working closely with local Texas-based officials to increase surveillance efforts and vector control activities around the area.
“Even though it is late in the mosquito season, mosquitoes can spread Zika in some areas of the country,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden. “Texas is doing the right thing by increasing local surveillance and trapping and testing mosquitoes in the Brownsville area.”
The virus typically spreads through the bite of the Aedes species mosquito, but can also be spread by sexual contact by a person infected with the virus. Most infected with the virus will either not show any symptoms or will experience mild effects.
However, Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly and other severe brain defects in fetuses and infants.
The CDC recommends that pregnant women take extra precautions, such as wearing long-sleeved clothing and using insect repellent with DEET, picaridin, IR2525, lemon eucalyptus oil or para-methane-diol.
As of Nov. 23, more than 4,400 cases of Zika virus have been reported to the CDC in the continental United States and Hawaii, 182 of which were spread by a mosquito bite.