Metro Health has confirmed three cases of the Zika virus in bexar county. All cases stem from individuals who traveled abroad. Another three suspected cases are pending confirmation from the centers for disease control and prevention (CDC).
The virus, which is carried by the aedes aegypti mosquito, is mainly transmitted via the bite of this mosquito, however in rare cases, transmission has been found to occur through sex and blood transfusion.
Symptoms typically occur between 3-12 days after infection. The most common symptoms are rash, fever, conjunctivitis, and joint pains. Most people who become infected feel better within 4-7 days of exposure and are typically virus free within a week.
Metro Health staff is coordinating with the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to collect and ship local samples for testing to the CDC and will continue to work with local physicians in the community to offer guidance and support.
Metro Health recommends individuals who are planning to travel to a zika affected country follow the usual precautions to prevent mosquito bites:
- Use air conditioning or window/door screens.
- Use mosquito repellent on skin and clothing.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Empty standing water from outdoor containers (even small containers).
In an effort to spread the word to the community, Metro Health has included a fact sheet on their website, as well as interviews with the local media to dispel myths about the disease. Social media is also being utilized by Metro Health so that the public can be informed about the virus.
Beginning March 8th, Metro Health will initiate a coordinated vector control plan along with the Transportation and Capital Improvements department and the Parks and Recreation department to assess and treat areas in the city that are known mosquito breeding sites.