Zika Virus getting closer to West Texas

By Zora Asberry

Anchor for News West 9

The Zika Virus is getting closer to home. The most recent case in the United States was just discovered in New Mexico. Now health officials are concerned with those people traveling back from Zika stricken areas after spring break.

The Zika Virus hasn’t slowed down since the first confirmed case in February of this year. In fact Zika has continued to spread and is spreading fast with over 250 cases in the United States according to the CDC (Centers For Disease Control and Prevention).

Gino Solla, Director with the Ector County Health Department says, “We have such a large population in our county that has ties to Mexico, which is one of the countries that has found to have some Zika cases. It’s hard to tell them (residents) not to travel.”

In the case that you do travel to areas with Zika, Gino Solla says the best way to protect yourself is to use insect repellant, condoms during sexual intercourse, and to stay away from places with swamp-like and tropical areas.

If you fear you may have been infected here are the signs and symptoms…”There’s going to be some vomiting involved, a maculopapular rash,” Solla said.

Other symptoms include pink eye, joint pain, muscle pain, pain behind the eye similar to a sinus infection, and an overall feeling of discomfort. Whether the Zika virus is transmitted through a mosquito bite or sexually, Solla says the effects on the body and symptoms are the same.

What’s is most terrifying is that Zika can cause the birth defect Microcephaly if a woman is infected during her pregnancy, also Zika can be asymptomatic.

“The problem with the asymptomatic patients is that they could transfer and transmit the Zika virus without knowing, because they don’t know that they’re sick. As of this point there’s really not any medications, the virus resolves itself,” Solla said.      

  The most recent case of Zika has been a confirmed in the land of enchantment. A 46-year-old man from Bernalillo county in New Mexico, tested positive after he traveled to Central America.

New Mexico health department officials say they have been been working closely with the CDC to prepare for more potential Zika cases in the state. Ector County Health officials are also keeping a close eye on the virus, taking precautionary measures to keep the people of West Texas as safe as possible.


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