Ten pregnant women in Dallas County, Texas, have reportedly tested positive for the Zika virus and are showing symptoms of the infection, health officials report.
None of their infections were contracted in the United States, but officials are increasingly concerned that mosquitoes in the U.S. will bite an infected patient and start local outbreaks, according to The Scoop Blog of The Dallas Morning News.
"We don’t want a localized case," Zachary Thompson told the Dallas County Commissioners' Court.
"It’s not if we’re going to have one but when we’re going to have one. And what impact that’s going to have on our residents, especially the fear among pregnant women."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will not confirm any diagnosis until the children have been born, CBS reports. In April, the agency confirmed that the disease can cause the birth defect microcephaly, in which an infant's head is small and its brain is underdeveloped at birth.
"What we're learning is that they have a severe form of microcephaly that is oftentimes associated with other problems in the brain that can be seen on imaging or CT scan or MRIs, that makes us really concerned," said Dr. Sonja Rasmussen at the CDC.
All of the cases of Zika in the Dallas area stemmed from travel abroad or from sexual contact with someone who did travel abroad. The focal point of the outbreak is in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Brazil, which is to host the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, has recorded more than 1 million cases of the virus so far.
Currently, there is no medication to prevent or treat the virus. The CDC has recommended for pregnant women to avoid traveling to areas where Zika is spreading and to make sure sexual partners wear condoms -- or abstain from sex entirely.
For anyone who gets infected with the virus, the CDC recommends rest, drinking lots of fluids and taking acetaminophen to help fever and pain. The virus is relatively mild as far as its effects on the patient is concerned, but it is of great concern for pregnant women because of the risk of microcephaly.