Infant is Texas' first Zika-related death

Child's mother had traveled to El Salvador

A newborn girl has become Texas' first death related to the Zika virus.


Dr. Umair Shah, executive director of Harris County Public Health, said the girl’s mother had traveled from El Salvador to Harris County, Texas, during her second trimester, KPRC reports.


It wasn't until the child was born several weeks ago that the mother realized she had been infected with the Zika virus. The baby died shortly after birth.


Shah said that the child has been born with microcephaly, a condition in which the baby's head is abnormally small. Doctor's conducted tests. On Friday, the test results returned positive for Zika.


"We are devastated to report our first case of Zika-associated death, and our hearts go out to the family," Shah said. "While this is a travel-associated case, we know that prevention is key to reducing the risk of Zika virus infection."


Shah urged residents to wear insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus. He also said people should remove any breeding sites, such as standing water, from their property and wear long sleeves. He said people who travel to areas where Zika is present should take extra precautions to keep from being bitten by mosquitoes.


Including Houston, there are 28 cases of Zika virus in Harris County, Shah said.


Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said that while every case of Zika in the county has been related to travel, the county has a plan in place to deal with the first local transmission of the virus.


"Like any other emergency, the Office of Emergency Management would respond," Emmett said. "There would be a command center put in place like we do for hurricanes or ice storms."


Emmett said that while the county and state are awaiting federal funding to help combat the disease, the lack of that money would not hinder an emergency response if an outbreak occurred.


Visit KPRC for the full, updated story.