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Texas Reports First Non-Travel-Related Case of Zika in a Pregnant Woman

JAN 29, 2017 | KRISTI ROSA
Although the Zika virus is no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, it is still making headlines as it continues to infect individuals in the United States. Most of the Zika virus coverage in the United States has focused on Miami Beach, Florida; however, back in November, Zika managed to reach another state: Texas. Now, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is reporting the first laboratory-confirmed case of Zika virus in a pregnant resident who did not report traveling outside of the state.
According to a news update from the Texas DSHS, although the woman resided in Bexar County, she did travel to Brownsville back in November when six locally-acquired cases had been reported. The Texas DSHS reported that she did not fall ill and during her normal prenatal care visit she had been tested for the virus. They noted that, “because the infection was not transmitted in Bexar County, it does not represent an increased risk of Zika there.” Brownsville, however, is a different story. On their website, the Texas DSHS recommends that any pregnant woman who has visited or traveled to that area should get tested for the Zika virus.
As for the mode of transmission for this case, the Texas DSHS postulated that the woman was infected either via mosquito bite or through sexual contact with a partner who was infected. Due to the fact that it could have been sexually transmitted, the Texas DSHS implores those who are pregnant to “protect themselves against sexual transmission from partners who travel to [affected] areas by avoiding sexual contact or using condoms for the duration of the pregnancy.”
Spread by Aedes (aegypti and albopictus) mosquitoes that prefer to bite during the day, but can bite at night, and even throughout the winter, the Zika virus can cause a number of irksome symptoms: fever, rash, achy joints and muscles, and conjunctivitis. Although in most cases the symptoms are minor, for those who are pregnant it poses a number of serious health complications, microcephaly being chief among them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines microcephaly as, “a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age.” This is because these babies often have smaller, underdeveloped brains which can pose many long-term issues.

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