Texas health officials today announced the state's first probable local Zika infection of the year, which also appears to be the first local case reported in the United States for 2017.
The patient is a Hildago County resident who had not traveled outside the area or had any other risk factors, the Texas Department of State Health Services (TSDHS) said in a press release. Hildago County, located in the Rio Grande Valley, is in far southern Texas on the border with Mexico.
The virus was probably transmitted by a mosquito bite in South Texas some time in the last few months, and lab tests show that the person is no longer at risk of spreading Zika to mosquitoes.
In April the TDSHS expanded its recommendations for testing pregnant women and people with Zika infections in six South Texas counties, which led to thousands of tests being conducted and to the identification of the newly identified case.
No evidence of ongoing spread
Currently, there is no evidence of ongoing Zika transmission in Texas, but public health officials are continuing human and mosquito surveillance to identify any other Zika infections as soon as possible.
Hildago County Health and Human Services (HCHHS) Chief Administrative Officer Eduardo Olivarez said in statement today, "We credit forward thinking of a local physician in helping identify this infection." The HCHHS said more than 6,000 Zika tests have been performed in Texas since April.
Officials suspect that the illness may be an isolated case, since no other local illnesses have been detected and there is no evidence of ongoing Zika transmission.
Meanwhile, Florida, which reported 285 local cases in 2016, so far this year hasn't reported any local infections in people who were exposed in 2017, though the Florida Department of Health (Florida Health) has reported six cases in people who were exposed in 2016 and tested positive in 2017.
As for travel-linked cases this year, Texas has reported 19 as of Jul 25 and Florida has reported 88.
Jul 26 TDSHS press release
Jul 26 HCHHS press release
Florida Health Zika case information
TDSHS Zika information