Health Officials: Cameron Co. Zika Case Likely Transmitted Locally

BROWNSVILLE – The Texas Department of State Health Services and Cameron County Department of Health and Human Services announced the first Zika virus case was likely transmitted by a mosquito in Texas.

The patient is a Cameron County resident, who isn’t pregnant, and was confirmed last week by lab test to be infected. She reported no recent travel to Mexico or anywhere else with ongoing Zika virus cases and no other risk factors.

Lab testing found genetic material from the Zika virus in the patient’s urine, but a blood test was negative showing the virus can no longer be spread from her by a mosquito.

The woman reportedly lives in a neighborhood in Brownsville. Cameron County officials said they will go out to the area. They’ve been trapping mosquitoes and spraying. They said they will go out and educate people and get them tested, as well. They'll be collecting urine samples on a voluntary basis. 

According to the DSHS, there are no other cases of suspected local transmission, but health officials continue to conduct disease surveillance activities as part of the state’s ongoing Zika response.

Cameron County, DSHS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working together to investigate and respond to the case.

As a result of the announcement, state health officials reinstated a Medicaid benefit for mosquito repellent. Eligible women in Texas can pick up mosquito repellent as participating pharmacies, as Texas Medicaid has a standing order for mosquito repellent prescriptions for women who are between the ages of 10 and 45 or pregnant. 

The benefit includes two cans per month per eligible beneficiary. Women are encouraged to call the pharmacy ahead of time because supply can vary by location.

Women eligible for the Medicaid, CHIP and CHIP-Perinate programs are covered. Women covered under the Healthy Texas Women and Children with Special Health Care Needs programs also can receive the benefit.

The CDC said Zika is transmitted primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito but can also be passed from mother to child during pregnancy, through blood transfusions and sexual contact.