Two more people have been diagnosed with Zika virus in Dallas County, public health department officials say.
The patients, ages 23 and 26, are the 19th and 20th to contract the illness in Dallas County. The 23-year-old patient contracted the virus in the British Virgin Islands; the 26-year-old contracted the illness in Jamaica.
After confirming the cases through the Dallas County Health and Human Services lab, the cases were referred to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
No other health information will be released about the patients, as per usual, to protect their identities.
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Still, no known Zika cases have been transmitted locally by mosquitoes, local health officials confirm -- all local cases have been imported with the exception of one case in Dallas County that is believed to have been spread by sexual contact.
Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, a known aggressive daytime biter. Common symptoms of Zika virus include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting several days to a week, though there can be profound impact to a developing fetus should the mother contract the virus.
There is no medication to treat Zika virus and there is no vaccine; the best prevention is to avoid mosquitoes and sexual contact with infected people. The recommendations for avoiding the Zika virus are the same for avoiding West Nile virus.
- Dress in long sleeves, pants when outside: For extra protection, spray thin clothing with repellent.
- DEET: Make sure this ingredient is in your insect repellent.
- Drain standing water in your yard and neighborhood: Mosquitoes can develop in any water stagnant for more than three days.
It has been recommended in the past that to avoid mosquito bites you should avoid being outdoors during Dusk and Dawn (the 4 Ds). While this is true for mosquitoes that commonly carry the West Nile virus, other types of mosquitoes that are more likely to carry Zika, dengue and chikungunya are active during the day. When outdoors, no matter what time of day, adjust your dress accordingly and wear insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus as your first line of defense against insect bites.