Texas and Hidalgo County health officials have confirmed that an individual tested positive for Zika virus.

Aedes aegypti/CDC
Aedes aegypti/CDC

Because the individual has not recently traveled out of the area or had any other risk factors, the infection probably occurred via a mosquito bite in South Texas sometime in the past few months, officials note.

“We credit the forward thinking of a local physician in helping identify this infection,” said Hidalgo County Health and Human Services Chief Administrative Officer Eduardo Olivarez.

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Hidalgo County Health and Human Services has alerted health care providers, reminding them of the testing recommendations, and state and the county are asking everyone in the area to be aware of the most common Zika symptoms: rash, fever, joint pain and eye redness. People should contact their provider about testing if they experience a rash plus one of the other symptoms.

No other locally-transmitted infections have been identified and there is no evidence of ongoing Zika transmission, leading officials to suspect that this may be an isolated case.

Local officials have also responded by increasing mosquito control and surveillance activities and going door-to-door to share information about Zika and ensure pregnant women and people with symptoms have had the appropriate testing.

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People throughout the Rio Grande Valley and Texas should continue to protect themselves from mosquito bites by

  • Using EPA-approved insect repellent every time they go outside.
  • Using air conditioning or window and door screens that are in good repair to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Limiting outdoor activities during peak mosquito times.
  • Covering exposed skin with long pants and long-sleeved shirts whenever possible.
  • Removing standing water in and around homes, including in trash cans, toys, tires, flower pots and any other containers so mosquitoes can’t lay their eggs.
  • Using a larvicide in water that can’t be drained to keep mosquitoes from developing into biting adults.

Texas previously had six locally-transmitted cases of Zika in Brownsville in November and December 2016.