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Health officials confirm 8th case of Zika in San Antonio

Photo: James Gathany / CDC / MGN

SAN ANTONIO -- An eighth case of Zika has been confirmed in San Antonio. So far, all of the local patients were infected while traveling abroad.

Meanwhile, health officials in Florida are investigating what could be the first Zika infection from a mosquito bite in the continental U.S. A person in Miami has Zika, and that person says they have not traveled outside the U.S.

Experts say small outbreaks are expected in the south, where the type of mosquitoes that transmit Zika are more common.


Safety tips from the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District:

Metro Health asks for the community’s assistance in preventing mosquitoes in the area, including:

Remove standing water

Keep mosquitoes from laying eggs inside and outside of your home. Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out containers that hold water, such as

• Vases
• Pet water bowls
• Flowerpot saucers
• Discarded tires
• Buckets
• Pool covers
• Birdbaths
• Trash cans
• Rain barrels

These actions can help reduce the number of mosquitoes around areas where people live.

Follow safe water storage tips

If water must be stored, tightly cover storage containers to prevent mosquitoes from getting inside and laying eggs.

Improve sanitation

When water is contaminated with organic matter (for example, animal waste, grasses, and leaves), the chances that mosquito larvae will survive may increase because contaminated matter provides food for larvae to eat.

Protect Yourself

• Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks to protect exposed skin during dusk and dawn, which is when mosquitoes are active.
• Avoid use of perfumes and colognes when working outdoors.
• Use air conditioning or make sure there are screens on all doors and windows to keep mosquitoes from entering the home.
• Use an insect repellent containing DEET or Picaridin on skin not covered by clothing.
• Choose a repellent that provides protection for the amount of time that you will be exposed. The more DEET or Picaridin a repellent contains, the longer time it can protect you.
• Spray insect repellent on the outside of your clothing (mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing).
• Do not spray insect repellent on skin that is under clothing.
• Insect repellents should not be used on young infants.
• Do not spray aerosol or pump products in enclosed areas or directly on your face. Do not allow insect repellent to contact your eyes or mouth. Do not use repellents on cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
• If working outdoors, use soap and water to wash skin and clothing that has been treated with insect repellent.

The Zika virus is part of the same family as the viruses that cause yellow fever, West Nile, Chikungunya and dengue. Zika is primarily transmitted through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth. In rare cases, it can be transmitted through sexual activity or blood transfusion.

If you traveled to a Zika-affected area, upon return please take extra precautions to avoid mosquito bites for two weeks.

For people who get sick, the illness is usually mild. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected. Common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Symptoms typically begin 2 to 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

Due to a possible link between infection during pregnancy and microcephaly in the infant, pregnant women are strongly advised to delay travel to Zika-affected areas. If travel is unavoidable they should take extra precautions to prevent mosquito bites. See your healthcare provider if you are pregnant and have traveled to a Zika-affected area within the last 12 weeks.

With no treatment or vaccine available, the only protection against Zika is to avoid travel to Zika-affected areas. If you do travel to a country where Zika is present, the CDC advises strict adherence to mosquito protection measures:

• Use air conditioning or window/door screens
• Use mosquito repellant on skin and clothing, even during the day
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
• Empty standing water from outdoor containers (even small containers)

See your healthcare provider if you develop a fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes within two weeks after traveling. Be sure to tell your health care provider where you traveled.

Additionally, pregnant women and women who are considering becoming pregnant who have a sex partner living in or traveling to Zika-affected areas should:

• abstain from sex (vaginal, anal, or oral)
• or use condoms correctly and consistently for the duration of the pregnancy

Men and women who traveled to a Zika-affected area also should:

• abstain from sex
• or use condoms correctly and consistently for three months after their return

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