Health department urges pregnant women, symptomatic individuals to get tested for Zika

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) urges pregnant woman and symptomatic individuals in the lower Rio Grande Valley to get tested for Zika, according to a news release.

The department recommends pregnant women who reside in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata counties to get tested at their first prenatal care visit and again in the second trimester, according to the news release.

Any residents of Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata counties who exhibit a rash or other Zika symptoms is also urged to get tested for the virus.

DSHS modified the Zika Testing Criteria for Residents of the Lower Rio Grande Valley on Friday.

According to the news release:

DSHS anticipated that the southernmost areas of the state would be most likely to support local mosquito transmission of Zika. In response, it expanded the testing threshold for symptomatic pregnant women in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Webb, Willacy, and Zapata counties in October 2016 to quickly diagnose and prevent further spread of the disease. After several cases of local mosquito-borne transmission in Brownsville, the largest city in Cameron County, DSHS recommended, as part of routine prenatal care, testing all pregnant women residing in Brownsville or with travel to Brownsville on or after October 29, 2016.

Information about Zika in Texas can be found on the Texas Department of State Health Services' website.

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