First case of Zika virus confirmed In Houston, 2nd in Harris County

- The City of Houston’s Health and Human Services Department has confirmed its first case of the Zika Virus which is extremely dangerous for pregnant women.  It’s now the second case in Harris County.

They say it was a woman in her fifties who contracted it in Colombia in Latin America.

The Zika Virus comes from mosquito bites.  Experts say usually the virus is pretty mild.  In this case they say it took several months to diagnose but now she is doing much better.  Symptoms include fever, rash and joint pain.  For women who are pregnant it can cause brain damage in babies.  Health officials expect to eventually see more cases.

“Here at home we'll eventually see infected mosquitos and so it will be very important to check your home to make sure there is no mosquito breeding ground just pots and buckets anything that would hold a small amount of water,” Health Director Kathy Barton said.

Several airlines are allowing people to cancel their travel at no charge to countries where there is an outbreak.

Health officials say the number of U.S. residents diagnosed with Zika infections in the past year has grown to 31.

All of them are believed to have caught the infection while traveling in the Caribbean or Latin America where there are outbreaks of the tropical illness.

Officials said Thursday the 31 people are in 11 states and Washington. In U.S. territories, Puerto Rico has 19 confirmed cases and the U.S. Virgin Islands has one.

The government is looking at the issue of blood donations from travelers, although officials think the virus is gone from an infected person's blood in a week or less.

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