On Monday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Texas confirmed a case of Zika virus, an untreatable mosquito-borne illness. Health officials in Brazil confirmed in November that the virus, which is common in Latin America and South Asia, is causing some babies in the country to be born with abnormally small heads. Zika can be transmitted to babies in utero.
Fox 26 Houston reported that the Texas case in question is a woman who traveled to Latin America, but officials in the state aren’t concerned about local transmission of the virus and are actively tracking mosquitoes in the area.
"We’re monitoring," Dr. Umair Shah, executive director of Harris County Public Health, told the news station. "We’re always going out to the field, we’re trapping, we’re collecting, and we’re checking. We’re isolating the virus...so there shouldn’t be any alarm right now."
The infected woman, whom the news station didn’t identify by name or age, reportedly went to her doctor for testing when she began exhibiting symptoms of Zika. According to the CDC, common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain or conjunctivitis.
There is no medication to treat Zika, nor is there a vaccine to protect against the virus. Most cases are mild, with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. Severe cases that require hospitalization are less common, and according to the CDC, no deaths have been linked directly to Zika.
The CDC recommends taking precautionary measures— like wearing mosquito repellent and wearing long sleeves and pants— to prevent mosquito bites when traveling to those areas where the virus is common.