All 6 pregnant women contracted the Zika virus while traveling to countries south of the border, including Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador.
Professionals warn that a Zika outbreak in the Rio Grande Valley at the southernmost tip on the Texas border with Mexico is just a matter of time. With 1.3M people live in poverty – many without AC and window screens – this area is conducive to an outbreak.
Texas is recommending Zika virus testing for women in their 1st and 2nd trimesters in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata counties.
The 1st Zika virus infection of a pregnant Texas woman was recently confirmed. In November, the resident traveled to Brownsville where there were locally acquired Zika infections from mosquitoes.
Factors keeping Zika outbreaks from occurring today in developed countries are socioeconomic related (lifestyle, housing infrastructure and good sanitation). But, natural disasters (hurricanes) and globalization could affect certain communities.
The Texas Department of State Health Services identified another Brownsville resident with a locally-acquired case of Zika on Dec. 22nd, bringing the total to 6.
The locally transmitted Zika cases in Texas are occurring during low mosquito densities, suggesting that a high percentage of mosquitoes could be infected.
Texas is getting $5 million from the CDC to combat Zika. For protection, individuals can dress in long pants and shirts, wear repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus, and drain standing water around the home.
The Cameron County Health Department reports that four more cases of local Zika transmission have occurred in the same Brownsville neighborhood as the first case reported last month.
Texas recently reported its first known locally-transmitted case of the Zika virus from a mosquito. For more information, click here.