Texas health authorities said Monday that a Brownsville woman is infected with Zika, a case that could make the south Texas city the second place in the continental United States where the mosquito-borne virus is spreading locally.
Laboratory testing confirmed that the 43-year-old patient, who is not pregnant, had been infected. State and local health authorities said she reported no recent travel to any location with ongoing Zika transmission and no other risk factors. The lab tests found genetic material from the virus in the woman’s urine, but a blood test was negative, indicating that a mosquito can no longer spread the virus after biting her.
There are no other cases of suspected local transmission at this time, but health officials continue to conduct disease surveillance activities as part of the state's ongoing response.
“We knew it was only a matter of time before we saw a Zika case spread by a mosquito in Texas,” said John Hellerstedt, the state health commissioner. “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.”
The woman's case is not that surprising given Brownsville's location in the Rio Grande Valley, directly across the border from Mexico, which has ongoing local transmission of Zika in multiple communities.
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