Third confirmed case of Zika virus in Houston area

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Third Zika virus case reported in Houston area. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Houston health officials confirm another case of the Zika virus in the Houston area. A Houston man who traveled to Honduras contracted the virus.

That brings the total number of cases in the Houston area to three, with two Houston cases and one Harris County case.

Health officials expect the number of confirmed cases here to rise. "We have a lot of people from central America or south America who visit us or who live here and visit them, so we expect to see more cases in the next few weeks because of a lot of people who traveled at Christmas who were likely infected," said Kathy Barton with the Houston Health Department.

Common symptoms of the Zika virus include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis, according to the CDC. Approximately one in five people infected with the virus show symptoms. Severe complications from the virus that require hospitalization are rare, according to the CDC.

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Two cases of Zika virus are now reported in the Houston area.

As things stand currently, the City of Houston cannot test for the Zika virus. But the CDC is sending tools necessary to begin doing so and it should be in place, officials say, by the beginning of March.
According to data compiled by ABC News, there are 35 cases of Zika reported nationally. New York state has the most, with seven patients testing positive. Texas, Washington, D.C., Illinois and Florida all have three.

The virus has also been associated with a rise of microcephaly, a type of birth defect. It has affected more than 4,000 babies in Brazil.

The CDC is also investigating if a rare paralysis syndrome called Guillain-Barre is related to the virus. The syndrome is an immunological reaction that can also occur after other viral or bacterial infections.

Health officials discourage pregnant women from traveling to Central or South America. If you must, they suggest wearing clothing and bug spray with DEET which will protect you. They are also urging you to eliminate any standing water around your home or workplace in order to limit the number of places in which mosquitos can breed.

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The Zika virus is spreading rapidly, causing concern at the World Health Organization.

Zika symptoms diagnosis and treatment from the CDC


  • About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill (i.e., develop Zika).

  • The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week.

  • The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.

  • Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for a few days but it can be found longer in some people.

  • Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.

  • Deaths are rare.


  • The symptoms of Zika are similar to those of dengue and chikungunya, diseases spread through the same mosquitoes that transmit Zika.

  • See your healthcare provider if you develop the symptoms described above and have visited an area where Zika is found.

  • If you have recently traveled, tell your healthcare provider when and where you traveled.

  • Your healthcare provider may order blood tests to look for Zika or other similar viruses like dengue or chikungunya.


  • No vaccine or medications are available to prevent or treat Zika infections.

Treat the symptoms:

    Get plenty of rest
  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration

  • Take medicines, such as acetaminophen or paracetamol, to relieve fever and pain

  • Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen and naproxen. Aspirin and NSAIDs should be avoided until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of hemorrhage (bleeding). If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.

  • If you have Zika, avoid mosquito bites for the first week of your illness.

  • During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites.
Related Topics:
healthzika virusmosquitoillnessHoustonHarris County
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