Katy, TX (August 10, 2016) Harris County Public Health has confirmed the first Zika-related death in the State of Texas. After receiving a positive Zika test result on a female infant who was born with birth defects, including microcephaly, HCPH confirmed the child died shortly after birth.
While the infant was born in Harris County, the mother is believed to have contracted Zika while traveling in Latin America. HCPH still has no reason to believe that any Harris County citizens have been infected locally.
It is important to remain aware of the symptoms of Zika and practice all precautions to guard against infection. Zika symptoms are usually mild and include fever, rash and conjunctivitis (red eyes), and joint pain, lasting several days to a week. Zika can also be transmitted sexually. While severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon and death is rare, the CDC has linked Zika to severe birth defects and there is currently no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika Virus Infection.
The CDC recommends that all people who are traveling to areas where Zika virus is found, should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites to reduce their risk of infection with Zika virus as well as other mosquito-borne viruses such as dengue and chikungunya. CDC recommends that pregnant women should avoid traveling to Zika affected areas.
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.
Information courtesy of Mike Schofield’s office