Amarillo City’s Public Health department has reportedly received confirmation that Zika virus was identified in an individual who traveled recently outside the U.S to a region with Zika transmission. The affected individual is identified as being from Randall or Potter County.

The local Department of Public Health will continue to work with the local health care providers to look at Zika as they meet and speak to patients about their travel history. Public health works with the health providers to assist them in assessing the need for major laboratory testing and to facilitate testing through the public health laboratories. The department continues to work in line with the Environmental Health department as that is City’s office that provides vector control.

“We expect additional people who visit areas with the Zika virus transmission to be identified within the next few months,” according to Casie Stoughton, the Public Health Director. “It is crucial for travelers to carry on with mosquito bite prevention when traveling.”

Mosquito bite prevention techniques include:

– Drain all standing water

– Put on long sleeves and pants

– Wear insect repellent that has DEET

Do the above every day.

While traveling, also consider the following:

– Using air conditioning to keep mosquitoes out of living areas

– Cutting down outdoor activities especially during peak mosquito times

Some of the visible signs of Zika include rash, joint pain, fever and conjunctivitis. People who travel to regions with active Zika transmission during pregnancy or when ill should see a health care provider. Traveling to areas with active Zika transmission, (which includes Florida) possesses a greater risk for Zika to Texas panhandle. However, halting mosquito outbreak and bites remains the priority as the West Nile season approaches.

While Zika symptoms are mild, pregnant women and unborn children remain at greatest risk to suffer complications. Zika virus is associated with microcephaly, making it critical that both men and women take measures to avoid mosquito bites.

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