First Case of Zika Confirmed in Cameron County

SAN BENITO, Texas - The first case of Zika is confirmed in Cameron County. What health officials classified as possible Dengue back in December 2015, is now Zika. News Center 23's Emily Jimenez sits with the Cameron County Health Authority who explains.

James Castillo, "Looking backwards it seems like we already had our first case of what we're going to call Zika here in the valley."

The first confirmed case of Zika, 1 of 11 across Texas. This one right out of Brownsville.

Dr. James Castillo, Cameron County Health Authority says back in December, a 57 year old woman from Brownsville, traveled to Chiapas, Mexico and back home. She showed symptoms of Zika but also of other viruses such as dengue.

Dr. Castillo, "The viruses are so similar. In the past, when we ordered these blood tests it looks for more of the shadow of the virus other than the virus itself so you can imagine that since these viruses look alike these tests can kind of come back confusing."

But under the new changes, testing for Zika specifically has become possible.

Dr. Castillo, "and they rewrote the rules and under the new rules, when this happens, we're going to call it Zika.", "red eyes, fever, rash, muscle aches, sounds like Zika."

It is solely a travel based case. When traveling, keep in mind the places with confirmed Zika cases, such as southern Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Dr. Castillo, "So somebody is going to travel to some of those places come back and probably feel fine, 80 percent of people are not going to have symptoms but they're going to come home and here in the valley we have the kind of mosquitoes that can spread it."

So you may not be traveling, and if you did you may not even feel the symptoms. But at the end, mosquitoes in our area pose a threat of an outbreak for all.

Dr. Castillo, "We don't have as many people but eventually it's probably going to happen because we have the mosquitoes."

Best advice is stay away from mosquitoes and prevent breeding grounds from happening near your home. And if you do feel those symptoms, go to your healthcare provider ASAP. Rest assured you'll know if it's Zika.

Dr. Castillo, "We're going to be more likely to say sounds like Zika, let's order the confirmatory test, or it sounds like Zika so let's respond to it like it's Zika."

According to the Cameron County Health Authority, pregnant women who have traveled, do not need to show symptoms to be tested for Zika right away. Remember pregnant women and their unborn children hold the highest risk.

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