The First Case of Local Zika Infection This Year Was Just Reported In Texas
Find out what this means for your own Zika risk and whether or not you need to get tested.
Just when you thought the Zika virus was on its way out, Texas officials have reported the first case in the U.S. this year. They believe the infection was likely transmitted by a mosquito in South Texas sometime in the last few months, because the person infected has no other risk factors and hasn't traveled outside the area recently, as reported by the Texas Department of State. Information on the identity of the person has not yet been released.
But no need to freak out just yet. Investigators are saying the risk of the virus spreading is low since there was no evidence of any other transmission across the state. That said, they are keeping a close eye out for potential infections. (This probably has you wondering if you still have to worry about the Zika virus.)
The virus predominantly poses a threat to pregnant women, as it may lead to microcephaly in their developing fetuses. This birth defect results in newborns with smaller heads and brains that have not properly developed. However, research has shown that Zika has more of an effect on adults than previously thought.
Either way, while it's been almost a year since the height of the Zika frenzy, it wouldn't hurt to use one of these Zika-fighting bug sprays when outside this summer.
The CDC has also recently updated its recommendations on virus screenings for pregnant women, which are much more relaxed than previous guidelines. The most notable difference is that the agency now suggests women only get tested if they are displaying any symptoms of Zika, which include fever, rash, headache, and joint pain among other signs-and that's even if she's traveled to a Zika-impacted country. The exception: Moms-to-be who have consistent and frequent exposure to Zika (such as someone who travels a lot) should get tested at least three times during pregnancy, even if they seem asymptomatic.
And of course, if you exhibit any of the common symptoms of Zika infection mentioned above, get tested immediately.