Midland Health & Senior Services has confirmed the first case of a Zika infection in a Midland County resident, who is said to have recently traveled to a country with locally-transmitted Zika cases.
The infection was reported to Midland Health & Senior Services by a local provider Thursday, and has been deemed to be travel-associated. There still have been no locally-acquired cases of Zika in Texas, and this case in particular does not present a risk to the public in Midland. As of Thursday, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported on www.texaszika.org that there were 118 other reported cases of Zika virus disease across Texas.
The Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of infected mosquitoes, or less commonly, through sexual contact. The types of mosquitoes that transmit Zika are not found in the West Texas area. With ongoing widespread outbreaks in South America and the Caribbean, the number of Zika cases among travelers returning to Midland County could increase.
Communicable disease experts at Midland Health & Senior Services have been working with local health care providers to identify and evaluate potential Zika infections. Local providers have also been notified of Thursday’s case.
Due to the fact that the Texas Department of State Health Services guidelines for responding to the Zika virus continue to evolve, DSHS, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control, has information for the general public and health care professionals available at www.texaszika.org. All healthcare professionals should refer to this website before testing for Zika virus. Specimen submission forms are available as well on the website.
Zika Virus Symptoms, Risks and Transmission
Symptoms of Zika are generally mild and include fever, rash, joint pain and redness of the eyes. Symptoms typically begin two to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Many people who get Zika have no symptoms at all. There is no vaccine to prevent infection or medicine to treat Zika.
Zika infection is a very serious concern for pregnant women because of its link with a birth defect in newborns called microcephaly, an abnormally small brain and skull, and other poor pregnancy outcomes. Zika is also linked to Guillan-Barré Syndrome, a problem marked by muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis.
For more information, local residents can call Midland Health & Senior Services at 432-681-7613.###
Media Contact: Health Manager Celestino "Sal" Garcia