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Zika Virus Reaches Another US State

NOV 28, 2016 | SARAH ANWAR
As the Florida Department of Health confirms one area of Miami Beach to be Zika-free, the virus appears to have moved on to another state.

Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that a Texas resident “without any other known risk factors” has been diagnosed with Zika. According to a Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) press release, the female patient is a resident of Brownsville in Cameron County, Texas, and is not pregnant. The patient has no travel history to any regions with active Zika transmission and no other possible modes of transmission have been identified. The CDC and the DSHS believe that this may well be the first locally-transmitted case of the state and will be aiding the Texas health officials with their investigation.
Although the patient’s blood tested negative for Zika infection, a urine test confirmed viremia. No other potential Zika cases have been identified in Cameron County or otherwise in Texas; however, surveillance is ongoing.
According to CDC Director, Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, “Even though it is late in the mosquito season, mosquitoes can spread Zika in some areas of the country … Texas is doing the right thing by increasing local surveillance and trapping and testing mosquitoes in the Brownsville area.”
The DSHS is collaborating with Cameron County to oversee an environmental test of the mosquitoes in and around the patient’s home, and is conducting vector-control measures. Professionals are also working towards educating the residents of Brownsville on Zika transmission and prevention, and are collecting urine samples to test for additional cases.
Although the DSHS acknowledges that Valley residents travel to Mexico often, it reminds these individuals that Zika transmission in Mexico is ongoing, and that infection with the Zika virus during pregnancy can cause several congenital neurological complications.
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Influenza A (H3N2) has caused most of the illnesses in this severe flu season, but influenza B is becoming increasingly responsible for more infections as the flu season continues to hit the United States.