FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - Officials have confirmed the first case of a patient having Zika virus in Tarrant County.
Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) says the virus was identified in a positive sample tested at the TCPH North Texas Regional Laboratory.
Tarrant County officials would only say that the patient had traveled to a Caribbean country affected by Zika.
Aedes aegypti, the mosquito blamed for the Zika outbreak linked to birth defects in Brazil, can be found in the southern U.S. from Florida to California.
If a person infected with Zika virus is bit by an Aedes mosquito, that mosquito may later bite another person and spread the virus further. "The most important thing residents can do is to eliminate mosquito breeding sites around their home," said TCPH Health Director Vinny Taneja. "When we stop the breeding cycle, we help stop the spread of mosquito-borne diseases."
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
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