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Zika virus comes to Houston, health officials say

Zika virus comes to Houston – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a Houston traveler who recently returned from Latin America has contracted the first local case of the Zika virus.

The Zika virus spreads through bites from Aedes species mosquito, according to Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services. The most common symptoms often associated with the virus include fever, rash and joint pain.

“Zika virus infections occur throughout the world," a public health official said. "We encourage individuals traveling to areas where the virus has been identified to protect themselves against mosquito bites, and to contact their healthcare provider immediately if they develop Zika virus-like symptoms.” 

Sickness from Zika is usually mild with symptoms lasting several days to a week and death is rare, public health officials said. According to the CDC, no vaccine or medicine is available to treat Zika virus infection.

Officials recommend all people, especially pregnant women, take precautions to avoid mosquito bites to reduce their risk of infection if traveling to areas where Zika virus is found. It is recommended travelers contact their health care provider who may recommend vaccines or important preventive medication for travel-related diseases before visiting abroad.

More information about the virus is available at www.hcphes.org and www.cdc.gov.