Texas’ first Zika-related death reported near Houston

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The infamous aedes aegypti mosquito seen through a microscope. It is the main culprit of the zika epidemic as well as that of other viruses like dengue or chikungunya.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas. (WGNO) — Texas’ first Zika-related death is a newborn, Harris County Public Health confirmed Tuesday. The baby girl was born with microcephaly, the birth defect associated with Zika. She passed away shortly after being born.

The health department says during the pregnancy, the mother was in Latin America, where she was infected. The baby acquired the infection in the womb. Recent test results confirmed the baby’s condition and link to Zika. The mother and baby are classified as travel-related cases, and there is no additional associated risk in Texas.

Last month Texas reported the state’s first case of microcephaly linked to Zika, also a Harris County infant.

“Zika’s impact on unborn babies can be tragic, and our hearts are with this family,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, Texas Department of State Health Services commissioner. “Our central mission from the beginning has been to do everything we can to protect unborn babies from the devastating effects of Zika.”

DSHS is coordinating with Harris County Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to follow the cases.

Texas has reported 99 cases of Zika virus disease, including the two infants with microcephaly from Harris County. All Texas cases are related to travel abroad to areas with active Zika transmission. There have been no reported cases of Zika virus disease transmitted by mosquitoes in Texas, but Texas is on alert for the possibility local transmission.

DSHS has been emphasizing precautions, specifically for travelers and pregnant women, through an ongoing public education campaign and via www.TexasZika.org

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