University recommends preventative measures following first local Zika transmission

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Photo Credit: Rachel Zein | Daily Texan Staff

The University sent an email to students yesterday afternoon following the first local transmission of the Zika virus in Texas, recommending preventative measures for students traveling over winter break.

The Centers for Disease Control announced Monday a woman in Brownsville contracted the virus but was not pregnant, and had not traveled to or had contact with anyone who had traveled to a Zika-infected area.

While Austin has not experienced local transmission of the disease, the University is still taking preventative measures.

Areas of campus are periodically being sprayed, and areas with standing water are being removed or treated to combat mosquitos, according to the email sent to UT students by David Vander Straten, medical director for University Health Services.

Of the 11 reported cases of the Zika virus in Travis County, all have been travel-related, according to the email. However, transmission of the virus could still occur, according to Shannon W. Jones, director of the Travis County Health and Human Services department.

“We anticipate that local transmission of Zika virus may also occur in Austin/Travis County,” Jones said in a memo to Austin Mayor Steve Adler in September. “We do not think that it will be as widespread as has been seen in Brazil and Central and South America. Because of very different living conditions … it may be in small, clustered areas."

The University recommends students stay informed on preventative measures by regularly checking the CDC’s website.