Zika is the first mosquito-transmissible virus that has been shown to cause birth defects, and the first mosquito-borne sexually transmitted disease or infection.”       CDC Director Tom Frieden, Jul 25, 2016

  • Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms.
    The most common symptoms of Zika are
    - Rash
    - Conjunctivitis (Red Eyes)
    - Fever
    - Headache
    - Joint pain 

  • Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus). These mosquitoes bite during the day and night.

  • There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
  • Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects.
  • Zika can be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her partners. Zika can be passed through sex, even if the infected person does not have symptoms at the time. 
  • Local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission has been reported in the continental United States. Learn more.
  • Microcephaly is a birth defect in which a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age. Babies with microcephaly often have smaller brains that might not have developed properly.
  • 44 states reported cases of pregnant women with evidence of Zika in 2016. Most were travel-associated.
  • About 1 in 10 pregnant women with confirmed Zika had a fetus or baby with birth defects. 
    Data from US Zika Pregnancy Registry (50 US states and DC)
ZIKA Prevention Tips  
doctor and pregnant women

HEALTH ALERT - Enhanced Zika Disease Surveillance and Modified Testing Guidelines

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has long considered the southernmost areas of the state to be at greater risk of supporting local mosquito transmission of Zika virus. This is based upon historical experience with local transmission of dengue virus, which is related to the Zika virus and transmitted by the same type of mosquitoes. Local transmission of dengue is most commonly reported in Texas from August through December. Additionally, Mexico continues to report local transmission of Zika in some of its border states.

Since we are now in peak mosquito season, the likelihood of local Zika transmission is increased. As such, DSHS has added Kinney, Maverick, and Val Verde counties to the list of high risk areas under expanded testing criteria. DSHS has also adjusted its statewide testing guidance based on local and national trends and increasing scientific knowledge of the disease. These changes are explained below.

CDC Resource Guide for Clinicians:
Zika Virus

CDC has prepared a descriptive list of available Zika resources for clinicians. This guide will help healthcare providers easily identify resources for pregnant women, women of reproductive age, and infants affected by Zika.

Congenital Zika Syndrome
Congenital Zika syndrome is described by the following five features:
  • Severe microcephaly where the skull has partially collapsed
  • Decreased brain tissue with a specific pattern of brain damage
  • Damage to the back of the eye
  • Joints with limited range of motion, such as clubfoot
  • Too much muscle tone restricting body movement soon after birth

Birth Defects

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Discovery - Mosquito

Shot on four continents and featuring insights from leading experts, including Bill Gates, MOSQUITO sounds the alarm on the deadliest animal in the world and highlights the vast international efforts that will be required to stop it in its tracks.

Kaiser Health News, June 13, 2017
When her daughter was born at Providence St. Peter Hospital in January, the first thing Maria Rios checked was the baby’s head.
She’d seen the terrifying photos on the internet — infants in Brazil and in Puerto Rico whose skulls were misshapen, even collapsed, ravaged by the Zika virus that has engulfed Latin America.

Governor Abbott, THHS, and TEA send Zika letter to School Superintendents and School Board Members

May 24, 2017
Thank you for your commitment to the education of school children in Texas. We know the impact of school districts extends well beyond the walls of school campuses and into the communities they serve. As the school year draws to a close, mosquito season is just beginning. As hubs of your community, we are asking for your help in raising awareness of ways to prevent the spread of Zika. Protecting your campuses will help protect your staff, students, their families and the entire community.

DSHS Updates Testing Recommendations for Rio Grande Valley
News Release  April 7, 2017

DSHS  issued a health alert that now recommends testing all pregnant residents of Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata counties in both the first and second trimesters of pregnancy and ANY RESIDENT who has a RASH plus AT LEAST ONE other common Zika symptom: FEVER, JOINT PAIN or EYE REDNESS.

Zika Epidemic in U.S. Could Be a Costly Scenario
WEDNESDAY, May 3, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- An outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in the United States could be very costly, a new study warns.
"The impact of a 1 percent infection rate could reach $1.2 billion, while a 10 percent infection rate could cost more than $10.3 billion, the researchers found."