Pregnant woman in Houston diagnosed with Zika

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Legacy Community Health in Houston announced Thursday that a pregnant patient has tested positive for Zika.

The woman lived in El Salvador — where the virus is prevalent — before coming to Houston. Legacy Health physicians are unsure if the virus was contracted by a mosquito bite or sexual transmission.

"Today we are re-issuing our advisory to pregnant women not to travel down to the Central and South American countries where the virus is rampant, and want to make the broader Houston community aware the virus can be transmitted sexually. We are focused on prevention, not panic," said Natalie Vanek, MD, a Legacy Community Health infectious disease specialist.

Gulf Coast municipalities like Houston and New Orleans shoulder a heightened risk of Zika proliferation due to their mosquito friendly weather. On April 13, the CDC confirmed the link between Zika and the birth defect microcephaly. Approval for the $1.9 billion requested by the Obama administration to combat the virus has stagnated at the congressional level.

"Washington needs to quickly find common ground on this growing public health situation," said Katy Caldwell, CEO of Legacy Community. "The virus will likely get worse along the Gulf Coast in weeks, not months, given this week's major flooding that will increase the area's mosquito population. We are hopeful the health and well-being of the American people is the top priority of lawmakers, even in an election year."

More articles on the Zika virus: 
Hillary Clinton to send top aides to Puerto Rico for Zika meetings 
How a new mouse model could enhance Zika virus research 
Dr. Anthony Fauci says US should expect Zika outbreaks this summer

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