On Wednesday, July 26, Texan health officials confirmed a case of locally-acquired Zika virus in Hidalgo county, located on the Mexican border. The patient, since recovered, is believed to have contracted the disease from a mosquito within the county. If the case, this would be the first confirmed case of local Zika transmission in the continental United States this year. However, a joint statement issued by the Texas Department of State Health Services and Hidalgo County Health and Human Services said there was no evidence of ongoing transmission anywhere in the state. Officials continue to monitor the virus and local communities.
While the virus is usually relatively benign, links between the Zika virus and severe birth defects as well as the potentially fatal neurological disorder Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), have been established. Symptoms - which can appear two to seven days following contraction of the disease but are only observed in approximately 20 percent of cases - include fever, headache (behind the eyes), conjunctivitis, rash, vomiting, and muscle and joint pain. The disease is also transmittable via sexual intercourse.
Individuals present in Texas - in particular pregnant women and their partners - are advised to take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites as a precaution.