Just days after the World Health Organization declared Zika virus is no longer a “global emergency,” a new case that appears to have been transmitted locally was reported in Texas—marking the first time such a domestic case has occurred outside of Florida. More than 250 people in Texas have been infected previously, but all those cases could be traced back to travel in a region where the virus is prevalent, or having sexual relations with an infected traveler. The female patient who tested positive for Zika lives near the Mexican border on the Gulf Coast, but claims she has not traveled to Mexico recently, and doctors say she has no other risk factors that would explain how she got the virus other than to have bitten by a mosquito. State health officials are now searching for other possible mosquito-borne cases in and around Cameron County, where the woman lives. Urgent care centers in the area should refer patients with suspicious symptoms for testing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that as of November 23, there have been 4,444 cases of Zika infection in the U.S., with 4,261 attributable to travel either by the patient or the patient’s sexual partner. The remainder are thought to be attributed to mosquito bites.
Transmission in Texas Puts Zika Back in the Spotlight