EXCLUSIVE: Houston Zika virus victim recalls the nightmare

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Friday, January 29, 2016
Zika virus: 2nd case reported in Houston area
Two cases of Zika virus are now reported in the Houston area.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Lizzie Morales is glad to feel like herself again. While visiting family in El Salvador at Christmas, she contracted the Zika Virus from a mosquito.

"You have no strength or energy to sit down. You just want to lay down and sleep," she said.

Since then she says she's seen news of the virus she had.

"It's crazy. I was hearing El Salvador, Brazil and I'm like wow, it's big," Morales said.

The symptoms for Morales started with a terrible body ache and lasted about seven days. A headache followed and there's a rash on the fourth day.

"It was all over; Christmas Eve I was scratching. My chest, bumps on my lips, eyes, ears," she said.

Once she thought she was better, vomiting was the last symptom. Morales says everyone is aware of the Zika Virus in El Salvador. Aunts, uncles and cousins had already experienced it. She was treated with medication there.

"Now that I left there are more mosquitoes," she said.

The mother says she is thankful her seven-year-old daughter did not get it, and she's feeling well again. By the time she returned to the U.S. January 6, she was well and says she doesn't believe she would have been allowed to fly while she had the rash.

Morales' case is the second one confirmed in Harris County. Eyewitness News previously reported a case in Harris County after a woman traveled to El Salvador.

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:

  • 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.
  • An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.