Yes, Zika Has Been Transmitted in Texas. No, You Don’t Need To Panic.
ZIKA IS SCARY — it harms the most vulnerable among us, and that’s terrifying. And it’s pandemic level spread has been frightening. And on Monday, a woman in Texas was found to be infected, making Brownsville the second city in the US to experience infections originating locally. The woman infected is not pregnant, and as such, is not at serious risk.
But this is not reason for panic. First off, this was expected. Mosquitoes don’t go through border security, and Brownsville is in the Rio Grande Valley, so the virus was inevitably going to spread from Mexico. Earlier this month, the the WHO announced that Zika is no longer a global public health emergency.
This does not mean that it’s not still a serious problem that means to be confronted: it just means that we know a lot more about the disease than we knew a year ago. In the Northern Hemisphere, it is winter time, and that means we can expect fewer cases of infection — the mosquitoes can only infect people in places they can live, and the northern US and Canada are not very mosquito-friendly in the winter.
If you are traveling to warmer parts of the United States, like Texas and southern Florida, simply take precautions to avoid getting bit. Bug spray helps, window screens and air-conditioning help, and pregnant women should be especially careful.
The CDC has resource pages for pregnant women and for the public as a whole. Check those out before making plans to travel to places with Zika outbreaks. And don’t panic!