CDC issues travel advisory for Brownsville, Texas, over Zika

About 80 percent of Zika infections don't cause symptoms, so it's hard to know how many women have been exposed while pregnant and have normal babies.

The town of Brownsville is still experiencing temperatures that are warm enough for mosquitoes to continue to breed, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "It is critically important pregnant women not travel to areas with active transmission of Zika virus".

"Women who have traveled to an area where there are mosquitoes spreading Zika should be screened for infection".

In Texas, the CDC issued travel and testing guidance for Brownsville, in Cameron County, and designated the city as a Zika cautionary area, which it depicts in yellow on outbreak maps.

Zika is primarily transmitted to humans by mosquitoes that have previously bitten an infected person, though sexual transmission can also occur.

None of the Brownsville cases involve pregnant women, officials added.

The advisory says that pregnant women in the area are at some risk of Zika, but the extent of risk is unknown. The advisory applies to pregnant women, women of reproductive age and their sexual partners who live in or visited Brownsville on or after October 29. Because many people with Zika virus infection will not have symptoms or will have only mild symptoms, additional people may be infected. Thousands of babies have been born in Brazil and Colombia with microcephaly, a birth defect that results in an abnormally small head and an underdeveloped brain. Symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. Twenty-six of the fetuses or babies, or 6 percent, had at least one birth defect that might be linked to Zika, the researchers report.

A ConAgra subsidiary yesterday agreed to pay an $11.2 million fine as it pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for its role in a 47-state Salmonella outbreak in 2006, the Associated Press (AP) reported yesterday. They should use an insect repellent registered by the Environmental Protection Agency containing one of the following ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone.

Pregnant women already in Brownsville should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites. Women and men should discuss their reproductive life plans with their healthcare provider in the context of potential and ongoing Zika virus exposure.

No vaccines or treatments are now available to treat or prevent Zika infections.

  • Essie Rivera