First Zika Case Linked to Interstate Travel Arrived in Texas

dead mosquitoes
Science & Medicine

While it has been confirmed that Zika has been spread in the United States by homegrown mosquitoes, there is now confirmation that a case of the much-discussed virus has spread from Florida to Texas.

An unidentified traveler tested positive for the Zika virus after going on a vacation to Miami. Therefore, it is impossible to tell if this is actually the very first time a Texan traveler who has gone to Florida has contracted the virus and returned home with it. [1]

Most people who have the Zika virus experience no symptoms, though the unidentified individual tested positive for Zika after complaining of feeling unwell and seeking medical advice.

The El Paso resident thus far has not spread Zika to anyone else, and the virus is not known to have spread anywhere in Texas except in travel-related cases. Aside from being bitten by a mosquito containing the Zika virus, one can also develop it by having sexual contact with an infected person.

It is also known to pass from mother to child and can cause serious birth defects such as microcephaly. Microcephaly is a condition in which the child’s head is much smaller than normal. Despite cosmetic issues, it is also linked profound intellectual and physical delays. Experts are also worried that children born to mothers infected with Zika that appear “normal” at birth may later develop symptoms and complications such as impaired hearing and eye sight.

While this case marks the first time Zika has spread through domestic travel, experts are saying it really isn’t as big of a deal as one might expect.

“It’s probably not a huge story, given that on any particular day there may be many people from Zika-endemic areas of Central America coming into El Paso,” stated Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine. [2]

Men and women who are not pregnant typically recover from Zika in a few weeks. Some will experience complications like Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which makes their muscles so weak that it can result in paralysis.

Sources:

[1] US News and World Report

[2] USA Today