Texas officials have confirmed the first case of Zika virus contracted from mosquitoes rather than travel or contact with other infected persons.
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) announced the first confirmed case of Zika virus that was “likely transmitted by a mosquito in Texas” Monday.
The woman diagnosed with Zika is not pregnant, and told health officials she had not traveled to Mexico recently. Investigators also ruled out other potential causes, which include sexual and close contact with a Zika-infected person or travel to areas with mosquitoes carrying the virus.
“We knew it was only a matter of time before we saw a Zika case spread by a mosquito in Texas,” Dr. John Hellerstedt, DSHS commissioner, said in a statement.
“We still don’t believe the virus will become widespread in Texas, but there could be more cases, so people need to protect themselves from mosquito bites, especially in parts of the state that stay relatively warm in the fall and winter.”
This mosquito-transferred Zika case occurred in Cameron County, Texas, 250 miles south of San Antonio near the U.S.-Mexico border. Mexico has reported several cases of Zika spread by mosquitoes, DSHS said.
Florida is the only other state with confirmed cases of Zika virus spread by mosquitoes, with 182 cases so far this year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of Nov. 23, Texas had 253 cases of Zika virus this year.