Zika Virus Invades Texas


Photo Courtesy of CDC

Mosquito sucking blood on a human hand

The Dallas County Health & Human Services has confirmed a third case of the Zika Virus in North Texas.  The virus, that is transmitted through infected Aedes mosquitoes, has been declared an international public health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO).  The Zika Virus has been linked to birth defects, and other side effects of infection include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes.

There is no known test to positively confirm the presence of the Zika virus because it resembles Yellow Fever.  Zika Virus can only be positively identified by sending a blood sample to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) where the virus is broken down molecularly.

Lake Ridge High School Nurse, Laurie James explained, “Right now there are more questions than answers.” She recommends that students “use mosquito repellent during the summer season to avoid exposure.”

Nurse James also emphasized the greatest risk of exposure is to pregnant women or women who hope to become pregnant due to the high potential for birth defects such as microcephaly. It is not known how long the virus stays in the blood after infection.

The Aedes mosquito is most likely to bite during the daytime hours and the virus has a 3-12 day incubation period.  According to the CDC, 60-80% of all infections of the Zika Virus do not produce symptoms.

For more information on the Zika Virus visit www.CDC.gov