FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 10/03/2016
FREE ZIKA TESTING OFFERED TO SYMPTOMATIC PREGNANT WOMEN IN RIO GRANDE VALLEY
McAllen, TX - The Texas Department for State Health Services has released an advisory notice for all pregnant women across 6 South Texas counties: Hidalgo, Cameron, Willacy, Starr, Webb, and Zapata. Starting today, any pregnant women residing in these counties will be eligible for free Zika testing if they exhibit at least two of the following symptoms:
• Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
• Joint pain
The virus, which made its way into the United States in 2015, is primarily transmitted through infected mosquitos but can subsequently be spread interpersonally through sexual contact. However, the greatest concern surrounding Zika is the transmission of the virus from an expecting mother to her unborn fetus, which has proven to cause birth defects, including microcephaly--a condition that causes abnormal-sized heads in newborns.
The risk for contracting Zika is heightened in the Rio Grande Valley due to the regional weather, geographic location, and its proximity to foreign borders. If you or anyone you know, across these 6 counties, is currently pregnant and are showing the symptoms listed, please visit your local healthcare provider for a free screening for the Zika virus.
Representative Guerra stated, "The safety of my most vulnerable constituents is of utmost importance to me, and I applaud DSHS for providing this preventative effort that will spread awareness on Zika across the region." For more information on the Zika virus, visit TexasZika.org or contact my local office at 956-292-0407.
State Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra is a Democrat who has represented District 41 since 2012. He currently serves on the House Committees on Public Health, and Insurance, as well as the procedural committee Local & Consent Calendars. He represents the cities of McAllen, Mission, Edinburg, Palmhurst, Palmview, Alton and Pharr.