ABILENE, TX - West Texas is being hit by a cold front, bringing unfriendly temperatures for mosquitos. But Texas health officials are still concerned with the zika virus.
"Most cases of zika that have been reported in 2017 in Texas have been travel related," says Dr. Jennifer Shuford, Infectious Disease Medical Officer for the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Dr. Shuford says 47 cases of zika were reported in Texas this year. But in 45 cases, the carriers had one thing in common.
"Then they are diagnosed once they're back in Texas. But they actually didn't get the infection here. They got it while they were traveling,” says Dr. Shuford.
Although most of the cases are due to mosquito transmission. There are other ways to contract the virus.
"Sexual activity can transmit zika,” says Dr. Shuford. “We know that zika virus can remain in a man’s semen for long periods of time.”
Health experts place more concern on women who are pregnant or womenare trying to conceive.
“They are the ones who suffer the most severe consequences from it. And that’s usually the birth defects, including microcephaly that we see in their unborn babies, says Dr. Shuford.
Experts say there are no specific treatments for the zika virus. But the human body is pretty good at getting rid of it on its own.
"The four symptoms of zika are fever, rash, joint pain and eye inflammation,” says Dr. Shuford.
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