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Cameron Co. Confirms 1st Travel-Related Zika Case of 2018

2 years 1 month 3 days ago Friday, February 23 2018 Feb 23, 2018 February 23, 2018 5:29 PM February 23, 2018 in News

BROWNSVILLE – The first case of Zika for 2018 was confirmed in Cameron County.

Cameron County Health Administrator Esmeralda Guajardo tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS it's a travel-related case. She explains someone contracted the virus just across the border.

We spoke with people who cross the border frequently.

Brenda Ortega says traveling back and forth into Matamoros is a way of life. She says she's well aware of the Zika virus.

"I've heard it's a viral disease that's going around and spreading everywhere," she says.

Ortega says still, it's not enough to keep her from visiting Mexico.

"Honestly, I'm not concerned," she tells us. "If I get it, I think it's up to God."

Felicia Bocanegra said her brother in San Luis Potosi, Mexico contracted the virus. She says she keeps it in mind when she travels into Mexico.

"Well, I do worry about it somewhat - yes, somewhat," she says.

Guajardo says a routine trip across the border is how the latest person contracted the virus.

"People are starting to let their guard down and that's our biggest concern because Zika is still there," she says. "Mexico has a large number of cases that they are reporting."

Guajardo said this now brings the total to 58 people who tested positive for the virus since 2016. Only seven cases have been locally contracted.

She says it may be just the first case this year, but she knows it won't be the last.

"It's still new. Zika is still being looked at," Guajardo explains. "Although there's a lot of information that we learned throughout the years, it's still new and I think also for public health, it teaches us a lot about our response efforts. What is it that we need to do? What is it that we still need to be able to address a public health threat?"

She adds people should be proactive and get tested when they experience red eyes, a rash, body aches and fever.

Guajardo says moving fast to detect the virus could be key to saving a life.

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