Texas Baby Is the State’s First Zika-Linked Death — WSJ

By Dan Frosch 
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DALLAS — Texas health officials reported the state’s first Zika-related death Tuesday, after an infant who died recently in Harris County was determined to have microcephaly, a birth defect linked to the virus.

Officials with the Texas Department of State Health Services said the infant’s mother contracted the disease while traveling in Latin America during her pregnancy, and the baby acquired the infection while in the womb. Test results confirmed the baby’s condition and link to Zika, health officials said.

So far Texas has reported at least 97 Zika cases, including two infants with microcephaly from Harris County, a heavily populated area that encompasses Houston. All of the Texas cases have involved travel to regions abroad that are hot spots for Zika, and none was transmitted by mosquitoes within the state.

State and local health officials have been on high alert for Zika in Texas this summer, as the mosquitoes that carry the virus thrive in sweltering heat and humid conditions. Last week, Texas announced it would provide mosquito repellent for pregnant women as well as girls and women ages 10 to 45.

In a video released Sunday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott urged Texans to take several steps to prevent the spread of the virus. One of these steps includes limiting outdoor activities during the daytime.

“Our central mission from the beginning has been to do everything we can to protect unborn babies from the devastating effects of Zika,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, the state’s health-services commissioner, in a statement on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced state health officials there have found four more people who likely contracted Zika through mosquito bites in the Miami neighborhood where the state’s outbreak began. The new cases bring to 21 the total number of people in Florida believed to have been infected locally.

Authorities believe that active transmission of the virus is happening only within the Wynwood neighborhood, north of downtown Miami. The four cases announced Tuesday were all in that neighborhood, Mr. Scott said without giving further details.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week there have been some 1,825 cases of Zika in U.S. and the District of Columbia, almost all travel related.

Jennifer Calfas contributed to this article.

Write to Dan Frosch at dan.frosch[a]wsj.com

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