A traveler in Houston has been diagnosed with a little-known mosquito-borne virus after returning from a trip to Latin America, health officials say.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it's the first diagnosis in the United States since an outbreak began in Latin America last year. In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization issued an alert about the first confirmed Zika virus infections in Brazil.
Puerto Rico confirmed its first case in December, and the virus has also been transmitted in Mexico.
"It's caused by the bite of a mosquito, very similar to West Nile," said Dr. Khang Tran, chief medical officer at the Medical Center of Plano.
Unlike West Nile virus, however, Tran said the Zika virus is not deadly.
He said the symptoms, including fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes), rarely last longer than a week.
"The clinical symptoms are usually pretty mild, treated with acetaminophen or Tylenol, and symptoms usually go away within week," Tran said.
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Though the symptoms are not considered serious, the CDC said pregnant women need to be especially careful when traveling to areas where the Zika virus is found.
Brazil is investigating the possible association between the infection and cases of microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with only partially developed brains.