- The Washington Times - Monday, November 28, 2016

A Texas woman likely caught the Zika virus through a mosquito bite in the Rio Grande Valley, state officials said Monday, in the first locally acquired case to be reported outside of Florida within the U.S. mainland.

The Department of State Health Services said the patient in lives in Cameron County — a part of the state that abuts the southern U.S. border — but she had not traveled to Mexico or other places where the virus, which has been linked to grave birth defects, is known to be spreading.

“We knew it was only a matter of time before we saw a Zika case spread by a mosquito in Texas,” said Health Commissioner John Hellerstedt said. “We still don’t believe the virus will become widespread in Texas, but there could be more cases, so people need to protect themselves from mosquito bites, especially in parts of the state that stay relatively warm in the fall and winter.”

Officials said they are investigating how and where the woman, who is not pregnant, became infected. In the meantime, county officials and the city of Brownsville are trapping and testing mosquitoes near the patient’s home and will step up their efforts to spray for mosquitoes.

Lab testing turned up genetic material from Zika in the patient’s urine, although a blood test was negative, meaning the virus can no longer be spread from her by a mosquito.

The development comes as the threat of Zika virus has largely fallen off the radar, as mosquito season wanes with decreasing temperatures and the news cycle is dominated by the fallout from Election Day.

Earlier this month, the World Health Organization said Zika was no longer a public health emergency of international concern.

More than 4,000 U.S. travelers have been infected with Zika abroad and returned to the U.S., though until Monday transmission by mosquito bite had only been reported in hot spots around Miami.

Florida has seen 238 local cases, though Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, recently reported progress in that fight last week, saying mosquitoes were no longer spreading the disease in a swath of Miami Beach.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide