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Officials Confirm 2 New Zika Virus Cases In Tarrant County

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TARRANT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) - Officials with Tarrant County Public Health say they have identified two new imported cases of Zika virus in the county.

The first patient had traveled to Puerto Rico; the second to El Salvador. Both of the countries are among places that have recently had increased transmission of the Zika virus.

Both Tarrant and Dallas County now have the ability to independently test for Zika, rather than sending samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But TCPH officials say the facilities were not up and running when testing was done on these two samples.

With word of the new cases, TCPH officials also announced the new availability of a Zika Home Care Kit for Tarrant County residents being evaluated for Zika.  The kit includes mosquito repellant, mosquito dunks, educational materials and other items.

"This is a good reminder to Texans that Zika virus is slowly arriving. We are providing these kits as an education tool to remind residents what they can do to protect themselves and their families from mosquito-borne illnesses," said TCPH Health Director Vinny Taneja.

Zika virus is primarily transmitted to people by mosquitoes and in rare cases is also passed through sexual activity. While the Zika virus rarely results in hospitalization or death, the biggest concern is the virus's possible link to microcephaly, a condition that causes babies to be born with unusually small heads.

Mosquito season hasn't officially begun North Texas, but Tarrant County officials are encouraging residents to reduce mosquito breeding sites by:

  • Routinely dump standing water on their property
  • Overturn all small containers holding liquid
  • Dispose of any trash or debris that can contain small amounts of water

Tarrant County Public Health has also put together a video demonstrating how to get rid of mosquito breeding areas on your property. You can watch it above.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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