Zika Virus Hits Mexican Border City near Texas

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MATAMOROS, Tamaulipas — The appearance of the Zika virus in Mexico has kept Mexican health officials on alert after the country has seen more than 34 cases in recent weeks. In the border city of Reynosa, authorities have confirmed one case.

After the first cases were reported, fear and uncertainty began to take root among the general population, particularly among pregnant women who fear the damage that the illness could case to their babies.

So far the cases that have been reported in Mexico are linked to the “importation” of the virus by people who were infected in Central and South America.

In this border state, health authorities have identified one case in Reynosa. According to state health officials, the victim was identified as a man who had recently traveled to Colombia which is one of the countries that has seen an outbreak of the disease. The man’s symptoms were identified early on–allowing him to get medical treatment. He is listed as in good condition and public health officials expect his health to continue improving.

In response to the spread of concerns at the national level, Tamaulipas Public Health Director Norberto Trevino spoke about the concerns brought about by the new disease which is spread through mosquitoes.

According to Trevino, the current priority in Tamaulipas is aimed at eradicating mosquito breeding spots and advising the public about the importance of keeping their homes mosquito free.

Zika is an illness that is spread through the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which in the past has caused concern in this border region because it also spreads Dengue fever and Chikungunya, the public health official said.

The symptoms for Zika tend to be less severe in comparison to those of Dengue or Chikungunya, however, the concerns deal with the cases of microcephaly in pregnant women.

In response to the concerns over this new disease, Trevino warned the public to remain vigilant particularly with children, pregnant women.

Health officials are working an outreach campaign to warn the public about brushy areas, as well as tires, flower pots, buckets and other items that can hold water puddles and can be potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes. In Tamaulipas, health officials are being extra vigilant in order to identify patients who suffer from fever-related illnesses.