Travel-related case of Zika virus confirmed in Central Texas

Published: Jul. 13, 2016 at 4:03 PM CDT
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A travel-related case of the Zika virus has been confirmed in Bell County, the Bell County Public Health District announced Wednesday.

“The male traveler was infected with the virus while in a known Zika region outside of the United States. There is no evidence of local transmissions,” the health district said in a press release Wednesday afternoon.

It’s the 60th travel-related case to be confirmed in Texas, the health district said.

Symptoms of the virus, which is usually mild, typically last for several days and include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis, health officials said.

The virus is most commonly transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, but it may also be transmitted sexually.

"It's not a time to panic right now, and that's why if you're concerned at all, and you are pregnant or wanting to get pregnant, you definitely need to go speak to a provider, and kind of get his or her recommendation on how to protect yourself," Dr. Marcos Sosa, OBGYN said.

Dr. Sosa says Zika is similar to the flu for most people, but can have devastating effects on babies who catch the virus from their mothers during pregnancy, including microcephaly. This is the abnormal smallness of an infant's head, and is associated with incomplete brain development.

Dr. Sosa says there is still a lot doctors don't know about the long-term effects on babies born with the Zika virus.

Prevention tips

Drain standing water around their homes to reduce mosquito breeding grounds

Consider use of BTI briquettes (or mosquito dunks) in water that cannot be drained, such as small ponds and drinking troughs

Be aware of mosquitoes during times that they are active, Dawn, Daytime, Dusk and evening hours

•Apply an insect repellent that contains DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) to exposed skin and to clothing when outdoors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends Picaridin (KBR 3023)

Dress in pants and long sleeves when outside and/or wear permethrin-treated clothing.

(Source: Bell County Public Health District)