HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Microcephaly in a baby recently born in Harris County has been linked to the Zika virus.
The Department of State Health Services says the mother recently traveled from Latin America, where she was likely infected. The agency says the baby acquired the infection in the womb.
Neither the baby nor the mother are infectious and there is no additional risk in Texas, a DSHS statement said Wednesday.
This is the first Zika-related microcephaly case in Texas.
“It’s heartbreaking. This underscores the damage Zika can have on unborn babies,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, Texas DSHS commissioner. “Our state’s work against Zika has never been more vital.”
Texas has logged 59 cases of Zika virus disease, including three confirmed cases in pregnant women. All are related to travel abroad to locations with active Zika transmission. There have been no reported cases of Zika virus transmitted by mosquitoes in Texas.
While local transmission in Texas remains likely, according to DSHS, public health officials do not expect widespread transmission across large geographic areas of the state. Small pockets of cases in limited clusters are more likely.
State health officials urge everyone to 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.
For more information about Zika prevention for Texas go to www.TexasZika.org.