CAMERON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Four more cases of Zika virus have been locally transmitted in Cameron County, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
On Nov. 28 Texas’ first case of locally transmitted Zika was announced. Investigators say the additional people who have contracted the virus live close to the location of the first reported case. Health and Human Services says the patients most likely contracted the virus in Cameron County.
The first patient, who is not pregnant, was confirmed after her lab results came back last week. The woman told officials she has not recently traveled to Mexico or anywhere else with ongoing Zika virus transmission.
Between Nov. 29 and Dec. 1, the four people began showing Zika-like symptoms. None of the patients are pregnant.
Residents living in the area where the people most likely contracted the virus will undergo testing by health workers going door-to-door. Mosquito control efforts are increasing in Brownsville while the eight-block circumference of homes is investigated.
“These cases were found through careful public health work and collaboration at the local, state and federal levels,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, DSHS commissioner, “and we’ll continue to follow through with the investigation and additional surveillance to identify other cases and other places experiencing local mosquito transmission of Zika. That information will be crucial to any future public health guidance.”
Due to the risk of birth defects associated with Zika, the DSHS says pregnant women should avoid traveling to Mexico and should avoid sexual contact or use condoms with partners who have traveled there. Other precautions include:
- Using EPA-approved insect repellent.
- Wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts that cover exposed skin.
- Using air conditioning or window and door screens that are in good repair to keep mosquitoes out of homes.
- Removing standing water in and around homes, including water in trash cans, toys, tires, flower pots and any other container that can hold water.