Texas researchers find a mutation in the Zika virus that could trigger an outbreak

GALVESTON, Texas (KXAN) — Researchers in Texas have found a single mutation in the Zika virus that they say could lead to a “major outbreak.”

Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch and the La Jolla Institute for Immunology jointly conducted a study and made the discovery, according to university officials.

The study says that with this single mutation, the “already rapidly evolving Zika virus” could bypass established immunity.

The university said one of the ways the virus can spread is through the bite of an infected mosquito. There is currently no vaccine or medication for Zika.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. This can cause birth defects.

Many people who contract the virus have no or only mild symptoms, including fever, rash, headache, joint pain, red eyes and muscle aches, the CDC said.

For now, in the continental US, the CDC said there is currently no transmission of Zika. The last reported cases of the mosquito-borne virus in the country were in Florida and Texas in 2016 and 2017.

The full Zika virus mutation study is published online. Texas researchers find a mutation in the Zika virus that could trigger an outbreak

Joel McCord

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