The Texas Department of State Health Services confirms the Zika virus has been found in a traveler who recently returned from travel outside of the United States.
The individual developed symptoms that are often associated with the Zika virus which include: fever, rash and joint pain.
The City of Lubbock Health Department (COLHD) works in conjunction with the City of Lubbock Vector Control Group who surveys local mosquito populations, submits mosquitoes for disease testing and treats mosquito breeding areas throughout Lubbock City and County. At this time no mosquitoes have tested positive for Zika virus.
It is anticipated that additional individuals who travel to areas with active Zika transmission will be identified over the next few months.
To reduce the risk of Zika to the Lubbock community individuals returning from Zika-affected areas that feel sick upon return should see their health care provider and report that they have traveled. Pregnant women should consider postponing travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
Personal precautions include:
- Wear an EPA registered insect repellant
- Cover up with long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- Keep mosquitoes out of living areas by using air conditioning or intact window screens
- Limit outdoor activities during peak mosquito times.
The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is typically mild and resolves within one week. However, Zika infection in pregnant women is associated with congenital microcephaly and fetal loss. Guillain-Barre syndrome has also been reported in patients after Zika infection.
West Nile Virus is also a concern for residents of West Texas. The symptoms are generally mild, including fever, headache and rash but may cause neurological complications. Texas reports many cases each year, some resulting in hospitalization and death.
Preventative measures residents can take to avoid mosquito bites include draining standing water around their property, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants and using EPA-registered insect repellents.
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