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Austinites react to first Zika patient in the city

Aedes mosquitoes research for Zika virus outbreak. (Photo: CNN / MGN)

The first Zika virus case has been confirmed in Austin, adding to the other existing cases in Texas. The state is dealing with 11 confirmed cases. Health experts in Austin say to avoid traveling to Central and South America where there is a Zika outbreak, especially if you're pregnant.

If you do travel there, do everything to prevent mosquito bites and start emptying standing water around your home where mosquitoes can breed.

The Zika epidemic felt like a world away for some Austinites.

"I'm not a panicker I guess you should say so not really," said Garrett Brustein.

But now Austin's Health and Human Services confirms the first case of the Zika virus in an Austin man who traveled to Colombia in January.

"Now that it's in Austin, it makes me actually want to know more about what it is," said Spenser Goodwin.

The Austin man is already recovering but 12 other cases are being tested from Travis County by the CDC.

"Did you have a fever? A headache? Did you have a rash?" are some of the important questions the local health officials need to know.

Zika is transmitted by bodily fluids and Aedes mosquito bites.

Aedes mosquitoes are present in Texas. They are not the same kind of mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus but experts say you should take the same precautions against Zika that you would against West Nile.

"If we get more and more cases here we're going to have that message to the people in Austin," said Jeff Taylor of Austin-Travis County Health and Human Services.

There's still a lot that health officials are learning about Zika but they know it can cause birth defects in pregnant women and more cases are likely in Austin.

"This virus still may be present in their body weeks after they recover," said Taylor.

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