Zika virus case confirmed in Texas; person traveled to Latin America

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Mosquitoes Are Spreading a Rare Virus

(Reuters) -- A traveler who recently returned to the Houston area from Latin America has a confirmed case of Zika, a virus born by mosquitoes, Harris County, Texas, health officials said.

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control said on Tuesday it has confirmed 24 cases of the disease among returning U.S. travelers since it was first reported in 2007, and is still receiving specimens for testing from travelers who recently became ill.

There is no indication that mosquitoes in the continental United States are spreading Zika. But in December Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, confirmed the first locally acquired case of Zika virus in a person who had not traveled outside the island.

Zika virus outbreaks have occurred in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, and have been reported in some countries in the Americas, the CDC said. It is transmitted by Aedes species mosquitoes, which also spread dengue and chikungunya viruses and are common in Texas, Florida and elsewhere in the United States.

The Zika virus has gained attention recently because Brazil is investigating a possible link between the infection and cases of infants born with microcephaly, abnormally small head size associated with incomplete brain development, the CDC said.

Learn more about the most dangerous infectious diseases:

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Zika virus case confirmed in Texas; person traveled to Latin America

HIV/AIDS: as of 2012, roughly 36 million deaths worldwide since discovery; 1.3 million deaths in 2013 alone

(Photo: HIV-infected T-cells under high magnification, via Getty Images)

Tuberculosis: caused between 1.3 and 1.5 million deaths in 2013

(Photo: Tuberculosis, via Science Photo Library/Getty Images)

Malaria: up to 855,000 deaths in 2013

(Photo: Malarial Parasite inside Red Blood Cell, via Getty Images)

Pneumonia: results in approx. 4 million deaths per year

(Photo: Microphotograph of diplococcus, bacterium responsible for pneumonia, via Getty Images)

Creuztfeldt-Jakob Disease: 100% fatal

(Photo: Creuztfeldt-Jakob Disease, via Getty Images)

Marburg hemorraghic fever: up to 88% fatal

(AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

Middle East respiratory syndrome: 41% fatal

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Rabies: up to 100% fatal if left untreated

(Photo: Brain of a rabies patient showing negri bodies in the cerebellum, via Getty Images)

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