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First Zika-linked microcephaly case identified in Harris County

HOUSTON – A positive test result for an infant diagnosed with microcephaly at birth has been confirmed by Harris County Public Health. It's the first case in the county and in Texas.

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The mother received inconclusive test results after traveling from Latin American. HCPH said since the infant tested positive, it's likely that the mother carried the virus while pregnant and was infected in Latin America.

"Microcephaly is one of the worst tragedies related to Zika virus infection. We are sad to report that we now have our first case of Zika-associated microcephaly and our hearts go out to the family," Dr. Umair A. Shah, executive director of HCPH, said. "While this remains a travel-associated case, we know that prevention is key to reducing the risk of Zika virus infection.

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"Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that Zika is linked to birth defects, we continue to encourage individuals traveling to areas where the virus has been identified to take steps to prevent Zika infection, and to contact their healthcare provider immediately if they develop Zika symptoms even upon return to the United States."

Zika virus is spread primarily through the bite of the Aedes species mosquito. According to the CDC, symptoms of Zika include fever, rash, conjunctivitis (red eyes) and joint pain, lasting several days to a week. Zika can also be transmitted sexually.

The CDC recommends that travelers to areas where the Zika virus is found should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Pregnant women should avoid traveling to Zika-affected areas, the CDC said.

Visit www.hcphtx.org and www.cdc.gov to learn more about the Zika virus.

Zika Virus Disease Overview | HealthGrove