Texas health officials have notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of a Brownsville resident who has been diagnosed with the Zika virus. The diagnoses suggests of possible local transmission of the virus.
Authorities said this could be the first known case of local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission in the state of Texas. The CDC said they are working with state and local officials to increase surveillance efforts and control activities in this area.
Officials in Texas expanded testing criteria for Zika back in October. They are asking residents, especially pregnant women, to take steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
Some of the safety tips include: using insect repellent that contains either DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, use or repair screens on windows and doors, use air conditioning when available, and remove standing water inside and outside where mosquitoes can lay eggs.
"Even though it is late in the mosquito season, mosquitoes can spread Zika in some areas of the country," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "Texas is doing the right thing by increasing local surveillance and trapping and testing mosquitoes in the Brownsville area."
Zika virus spreads primarily through mosquito bites but can also spread during sex if someone is already infected with Zika.
The CDC said there have been 4,444 reported cases of Zika in the US and Hawaii since November 23, 2016. 182 of those cases were the result of local spread by mosquitoes.