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Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson confirmed Thursday that four additional individuals were being tested for the Zika virus, following Dallas County's first two cases of the mosquito-borne virus being discovered Tuesday. The two confirmed cases include one person who recently traveled to Venezuela and another person who contracted the virus after having sex with someone already infected. All four of the people are being tested as a precaution based on their travel history, Thompson said.
Both people confirmed to have had the virus are recovering. In adults, the virus is often asymptomatic. When it does manifest, patients can develop a rash, a fever or joint pain. The greatest potential danger presented by Zika is its tentative link to birth defects. In Brazil, a Zika outbreak has coincided with 4,000 reported cases of microcephaly, a birth defect that results in incomplete brain and head development for infants.
Because of the birth defect threat, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins has issued a directive asking women who are pregnant or think they might be pregnant and their partners to avoid traveling to areas currently suffering a Zika outbreak. Jenkins also warned Dallas County residents to avoid mosquito bites, but Thompson did confirm that no mosquito activity was discovered in an investigation of the environment around the initial diagnoses. The Aedes mosquito, which can be found in North Texas, can bite a person infected with Zika and transmit the virus to another individual.