The first case of an infant death linked to the Zika Virus was reported Tuesday in Harris County, Texas. The Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed that an infant with microcephaly linked to the virus died shortly after birth. The fatality is the first Zika-related infant death in Texas.
A news release issued by the Texas Department of Health indicated that the state’s first case of microcephaly (a neurological condition which causes congenital abnormalities and developmental issues) linked to the mosquito-borne Zika virus had also been reported in Harris County.
Texas reported 99 cases of Zika Virus (which includes the two infants with Microcephaly in Harris County). The DHS is currently working with Harris County Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention to closely follow the cases, and the DHS is tracking the number of pregnant women with Zika in the state.
Texas Department of State Health Services commissioner, Dr. John Hellerstedt, spoke of the infant's fatality: “Zika’s impact on unborn babies can be tragic and our hearts are with this family,” Hellerstedt stated in the release. “Our central mission from the beginning has been to do everything we can to protect unborn babies from the devastating effects of Zika.”
The reported cases in Texas have been linked to traveling abroad in areas with known cases of the virus. Currently, there are no reported cases of mosquito-transmitted Zika viruses in Texas.
The CDC issued an alert for those traveling to areas where the virus is known to be spreading and encourages women who are pregnant, or considering pregnancy, to first consult a doctor.
Last month, a patient exhibiting symptoms of the virus was reported in Miami-Dade County in Florida. It was the first case of the virus that was transmitted from a local mosquito in the continental United States.
According to a recent New York Times piece, health officials are monitoring a 500-square-foot area in the Wynwood section of Miami that is said to be “ground zero” for the local cases reported in Florida. Insecticide was sprayed over Wynwood by plane to help control mosquito numbers.