Concern Grows Over Zika Virus Spreading Into Texas

Concern is growing over a mosquito-borne virus that has been linked to severe brain damage in infants.

The Zika virus is passed from the bite of infected mosquitoes, and now there's a major travel warning for women after a dozen cases of the virus showed up in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising pregnant women to avoid traveling to 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that are currently seeing high rates of Zika virus.

It's being linked to a condition called microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with an abnormally small skull and brain.

"The thing that is alarming us now is how big these outbreaks of Zika are in Latin America and this new link we're learning between the virus and very serious birth defects in babies," said Dr. Seema Yasmin, health expert for The Dallas Morning News.

The virus was discovered in the 1940s but recently showed up in Brazil. In 2015, Brazil had a massive outbreak with more than a million people infected.

There's concern it will spread into Texas as people who travel there will bring it back here, similar to the West Nile and chikungunya viruses.

"It's really important that if you travel to Latin America and if you have any of the symptoms of the virus that you see your doctor, and that in that first week try to really protect yourself against getting bitten by mosquitoes," Yasmin said.

Symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain and headaches, which usually subside in 12 days.

Experts said the best way to combat the disease and avoid an outbreak is by eradicating mosquitoes and wipe out places where they breed.

Yasmin also recommends covering up and wearing insect repellent.

Contact Us