Yesterday (August 9) Texas had its first Zika-related casualty. The Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed that an infant who died in Harris County suffered from microcephaly, a brain deformity that shrinks a fetus’ head as a result from infection.
The case was travel-related and not acquired from local mosquitoes. However, Texas officials have been expecting the virus because the Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries the virus can be found in parts of the state. Texas currently has 99 reported cases of Zika. Of those infected there are two infants—including the one who died yesterday—who have been diagnosed with microcephaly. Both are from Harris County, which is 42 percent Latinx.
A local Harris County ABC station reported that the mother of the now-deceased infant spent time in Latin America during her pregnancy. She contracted Zika while there.
“Zika’s impact on unborn babies can be tragic, and our hearts are with this family,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, the state’s health commissioner, in an online statement. “Our central mission from the beginning has been to do everything we can to protect unborn babies from the devastating effects of Zika.”
But not everything is being done, believes Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Yesterday, she visited the Wynwood, Florida neighborhood where authorities have discovered local Zika cases. While there, she called on Congress to end its summer recess to pass emergency funding for the crisis. The Senate failed to pass a bill to fund an appropriate response to the virus in June after Republicans added unrelated provisions of which Democrats disapproved.