A Texas resident who recently traveled to an area of Miami with local Zika transmission has tested positive for the virus, according to a news release from the Texas Department of State Health Services. The traveler, an El Paso County resident, recently returned from the area and sought testing after becoming ill.
This is the first Texas case to be linked to travel within the continental United States. The case will be classified as “travel-associated” and is being investigated for more details.
Health officials linked this case to Miami travel after closely evaluating travel dates, symptom onset date and known local transmission of Zika virus in Miami. This will be El Paso County’s first Zika case, and the county has found no other evidence of the virus or local transmission.
Excluding this case, Texas has reported 108 cases associated with travel to areas with active Zika transmission. This count includes three pregnant women, two infants infected before birth, and one person who had sexual contact with a traveler, as the press release noted.
There have been no reported cases of Zika virus disease transmitted by mosquitoes in Texas, but Texas is on alert for the possibility of local transmission. State efforts have been underway since January to delay and minimize the impact of Zika on Texas.
To avoid infecting local mosquitoes, people who travel to areas with active Zika transmission should apply insect repellent every time they go outside for at least three weeks after they return to Texas – and longer if they develop an illness that could be Zika. State health officials urge everyone to visit www.TexasZika.org and follow precautions to protect themselves from mosquito bites:
- Apply EPA-approved insect repellent
- Wear pants and long-sleeve shirts that cover exposed skin. In warmer weather, wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that covers exposed skin
- Use screens or close windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home
- Remove standing water in and around the home. This includes water in cans, toys, tires, plant saucers, and any container that can hold water
- Cover trash cans or containers where water can collect