Dr. Donald Murphey with Dell Children's Hospital talks Zika Virus

At a Dell Children's press conference Friday morning, infectious disease expert Dr. Donald Murphey shed some light on what's going on with the Zika Virus locally and nationally.

"We don't have any signs so far that there's mosquitoes with Zika Virus in the U.S," Dr. Murphey said.

He says even though mosquitoes here in Texas can carry Zika, they're not right now.
So the cases in the U.S. and Texas have been the result of travel to the affected areas.

"We're really worried about people returning from South America, Central America, the Caribbean.  And then within the next couple of weeks, getting sick with fever, rash, headache, joint pains and red eyes, Conjunctivitis," Murphey said.

The confirmed case in Travis county -- a man under the age of 50 had gotten the illness in Colombia. 

A separate case in Dallas was contracted sexually -- from someone who had been to an affected area.
Dr. Murphey says for many people, Zika is no big deal.

"We could travel to South America as normal healthy men, get Zika Virus, get sick, get over it and no long-standing issues," Murphey said.

The real issue is with pregnant women.

"They have probably a small risk of injury to the fetus and Microcephely and that is a serious concern," he said.

Microcephely is a severe birth defect with symptoms including a smaller than normal head.

"What we know in Brazil in 2015 all of a sudden there was widespread Zika Virus infection.  They would usually have maybe a couple of hundred kids born with Microcephely and in 2015, they had 3,000 kids born with Microcephely," Murphey said.

During a press conference Thursday, Jeff Taylor with Austin-Travis County Health and Human services spoke to that as well.

"Right now, the Centers for Disease Control are recommending any woman who has been to one of the infected countries where this virus is circulating who is pregnant or recognizes in the next couple of weeks that they were pregnant -- they need to consult with their OBGYN," Taylor said.

Dr. Murphey says the health care community is keeping an eye on the evolving situation.

"We're trying to protect the blood supply.  So if you've been to one of those areas, you're not going to be eligible to donate blood for at least a month afterwards," Murphey said.

As winter wraps up and the mosquitoes come back out, health officials are urging people to take precautions not just for Zika but for West Nile too.
If you have any water containers or standing water in your yard, get rid of it.  That's where mosquitoes breed.
Also, wearing long sleeves and putting on Deet helps as well.

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