Cameron Co. Health Officials Confirm First Locally Transmitted Case of Zika

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LAGUNA HEIGHTS – Cameron County health officials have confirmed the first probable case of locally acquired Zika this year.

The Laguna Heights woman that tested positive did not have recent travel history outside of the country and was bitten by an infected mosquito in the small colonia she resides in, according to Cameron County Health Administrator Esmeralda Guajardo.

She said officials are calling it probable because the woman also tested positive for other viruses.

Laguna Heights resident Rebeca Lopez was shocked to find out one of her neighbors is the first confirmed case of Zika this year.

"I didn't know! We're going to have to be more careful then,” she said.

Guajardo said the woman tested positive for the virus about two months ago.

She said more testing was required because she wasn't showing symptoms and tested positive for other viruses as well.

In the end, the additional lab results point to Zika. It's the first locally acquired case since December 2016, Guajardo said.

"A lot of time has passed but if anything, this should be a reminder to people that they need to continue to be vigilant. They need to not let their guard down," Guajardo said.

Lopez said while the recent rain has been good for her plants, it's also created habitats conducive for mosquito breeding sites. She's hoping her neighbors will take note of the latest case and do their part.

"Since it rained, the grass is really growing fast," she said as she pointed to the tall grass in neighboring yards. 

Guajardo said county health department crews have been spraying for mosquitos and also setting traps. None of the mosquitos trapped have tested positive for Zika.

Right now, the woman that tested positive is not believed to be a threat for spreading the virus, according to Guajardo. 

In areas like Laguna Heights were the population is so dense, she said people need to be extra vigilant. Mosquitos that carry the Zika virus breed near homes to stay close to humans in order to feed.

This case now makes seven total locally acquired cases of Zika in Cameron County. Guajardo doesn't believe the CDC will issue any kind of travel warning for the area.

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