Officials from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) introduced the state’s first Zika case probably unfold by an area mosquito.
“We knew it was solely a matter of time earlier than we noticed a Zika case unfold by a mosquito in Texas,” Dr. John Hellerstedt, DSHS commissioner, stated in an announcement Monday.
“We nonetheless don’t imagine the virus will change into widespread in Texas, however there could possibly be extra circumstances, so folks want to guard themselves from mosquito bites, particularly in components of the state that keep comparatively heat within the fall and winter,” he said.
The affected person, a Cameron County feminine resident, just isn’t pregnant. Last week, a lab check confirmed her an infection, in line with Texas public well being officers. The unidentified lady reported no current journey to Mexico or anyplace else with ongoing Zika transmission and no different threat components.
A press launch issued by the DSHS said the lab outcomes discovered genetic materials from the Zika virus within the affected person’s urine, however a blood check was unfavorable, indicating she was not contagious. There are not any different circumstances of suspected native transmission at the moment, however well being officers proceed to conduct illness surveillance actions as a part of the state’s ongoing Zika response.
Cameron County is positioned within the Rio Grande Valley. It is the southernmost county in Texas close to the Mexican border. Health officers famous that journey back-and-forth throughout the border is a lifestyle within the Valley. News reviews from Mexico point out Zika transmission by mosquitoes in quite a few communities on the Mexican facet of the border.
The largest metropolis within the Cameron County is Brownsville, which just lately sprayed for mosquitoes and can proceed to take action to curb its mosquito inhabitants. The City and the County additionally carried out an environmental evaluation on the affected person’s residence and have been trapping and testing mosquitoes to study extra about exercise within the space. Additionally, Brownsville, the County, the DSHS, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are working collectively to research the case additional to raised pinpoint how and the place the native an infection occurred.
Health employees from Cameron County and DSHS may also go door-to-door within the space round the place the contaminated particular person lives to coach the general public about Zika, assist folks cut back potential mosquito breeding habitat on their property, and gather voluntary urine samples to find out whether or not different infections are current. Those samples will likely be examined on the DSHS laboratory in Austin.
DSHS activated the State Medical Operations Center to assist the response and supply experience, personnel, and tools for actions from illness investigation and mosquito surveillance to public schooling.
Although the World Health Organization (WHO) just lately declared the worldwide Zika emergency over, in addition they issued an announcement that Zika stays a major public well being problem. While signs for many who contract the virus are often minor, the best concern is for pregnant girls and well being dangers to their unborn youngsters.
In July, the primary Texas child, a boy, was born with Zika-related microcephaly, the delivery defect the place newborns have small heads because of brains that by no means absolutely develop. Then, in early August, the State confirmed its first toddler Zika fatality, a woman, additionally born with microcephaly.
KRGV reported that, in response to the DSHS announcement, state well being officers reinstated a Medicaid mosquito repellent profit program that beforehand ended. Medicaid will once more cowl the prices for eligible Texas girls between the ages of 10 and 45, or pregnant, to select up cans of mosquito repellent at taking part pharmacies, by affiliated packages.
The state stays on excessive alert for any native mosquito-borne Zika. In February, DSHS officers feared a “transmission cycle” might occur as did in Florida as a result of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry Zika are native to Texas.