Test results pending in Travis County for Zika virus

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department (A/TCHHSD) says 29 people Travis County are awaiting test results to find out whether they have the Zika Virus.

Dr. Philip Huang, Medical Director and Health Authority for A/TCHHSD, said 18 of those tests are for pregnant women.

“CDC recommends that pregnant women who are considering travel in any of the areas that have active transmission for where Zika is spreading that they continue postponing that travel,” said Dr. Huang during a city of Austin Health and Human Services Committee netting at city hall, Wednesday afternoon.

The virus has spread across Central and South America and is linked to Congenital Microcephaly, a condition which causes a baby to have a tiny head and brain damage. Guillain-Barre syndrome has also been reported in patients after infection, according to the health and human services department.

Zika is found in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.  An insect which is known for spreading other diseases like West Nile virus and dengue according to A/TCHHSD.

The department says the mosquito that carries Zika is endemic to Central Texas.

There are no current cases of the mosquito carrying the Zika virus in Central Texas. The way people are getting infected are by traveling to those effected regions and getting bitten. Experts also say the virus is spread through sexual transmission an blood.

According to Huang, in Travis County as of March 3, they’ve sent specimens form 45 people for Zika virus testing. They’ve received eleven results which included two positives.

A man and woman contracted the virus while traveling in Colombia, according to A/TCHHSD.

The nine others turned back negative, including those of five pregnant women. Officials are still waiting for 29 more results but five additional specimens were not able to be tested.Symptoms from the virus include: 

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint pain
  • Conjunctivitis

There are no vaccines or cures. Huang said the best thing people can do is protect themselves by wearing long sleeve shirts, Deet insect repellent, removing standing water and being mindful during the daytime, because the mosquitoes bite during the day as well.

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