Zika Cases Confirmed Near Austin and Dallas

Texas confirmed 3 Zika virus cases related to international travel during 2018

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The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) updated its website on July 5th to report three Zika cases have been confirmed in 2018.

Two of these Zika virus cases are Williamson County residents and the third Zika case was confirmed in a person living in Collin County.  

According to DSHS, all 3 of these Zika cases in Texas are associated with traveling.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to say ‘because Zika infection during pregnancy can cause severe birth defects, pregnant women should not travel to the areas on this page.’ 

“Until a vaccine is available, protect yourself from Zika. It is recommended to avoid areas of Zika risk if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant,” said Chris Felton, PharmD Clinical Pharmacist MTM and Immunization Specialist Brookshire Grocery Company.

“If you or your partner travel to an area of Zika risk, take precautions. Mosquito avoidance and use of mosquito repellant will reduce the risk of transmission.”

“Abstaining from intercourse or using a condom will reduce the risk of contracting Zika from your partner. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions or concerns,” continued Felton.

Previously, on April 2, 2018, DSHS updated its statewide testing guidance for asymptomatic pregnant women based on new scientific knowledge of Zika and the limitations of available tests.

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Testing guidance for symptomatic individuals has not changed.

These changes are explained below:

Zika Testing in High-Risk Areas:

  • New: Test asymptomatic pregnant women with ongoing risk of possible Zika virus exposure OR residing in Cameron, Hidalgo, Kinney, Maverick, Starr, Val Verde, Webb, Willacy, and Zapata counties three times during pregnancy using PCR only. Previously, the recommendation was to test asymptomatic pregnant women in Cameron, Hidalgo, Kinney, Maverick, Starr, Val Verde, Webb, Willacy, and Zapata counties with both PCR and IgM.
  • Updated Statewide Testing Guidelines: New: Test asymptomatic pregnant women with recent possible exposure to Zika virus but no ongoing exposure (i.e., travelers): test as soon as possible up to 12 weeks after exposure using PCR only. Previous guidance recommended both PCR and IgM testing.

As of June 19, 2018, the US Zika Pregnancy & Infant Registry shows Pregnant Women with Any Lab Evidence of Zika Virus Infection between 2015 and 2018:

  • US States and DC: 2,465
  • US Territories: 4,879

Separately, Zika vaccine candidates continue to progress in development, such as:

  • Phase 1 clinical trials of an experimental DNA vaccine developed by scientists at the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases showed that the vaccine is safe and induced an immune response in healthy adults.
  • Separately, a phase 2 trial designed to test the vaccine’s ability to protect against Zika virus launched in April 2017 and is expected to reach completion within a couple of years.

Additional Zika news articles can be found below: