As the CDC reports the Zika Virus is proving to be “scarier” than first thought, local health officials are reminding you to take precautions. 
The CDC warns the virus has now been linked to more birth defects throughout a longer period of pregnancy, including premature birth and blindness on top of the smaller brain size that’s been reported for months. 
Also, a new study links Zika to a second auto-immune disorder that resembles MS and involves a swelling of the brain and spinal cord. 
New studies also show the Zika Virus appears to target brain cells as well and kill them.
The mosquito that carries Zika is active in at least 30 states, including Texas and Oklahoma.
The CDC is asking congress for nearly two billion dollars in emergency funding to fight the virus. 
“The symptoms are so vague, some people don’t have any at all and they think it could be something else.” Michelle McQuerry, a nurse practitioner with the Community Healthcare Center, said. 
Some of those symptoms include a fever or red eyes that are related to other illness, making it often hard to diagnose. 
McQuerry also says it can be transmitted through sexual intercourse. 
That’s why she says it’s important to take precautions, especially if you’ve recently traveled outside of the country. 
 “If you’re going to be outside, you know you want to use an EPA approved insect repellent and wear long sleeves, pants, just protect yourself outside,” McQuerry said. 
While many area residents we spoke with say they’re not worried about taking precautions to try and avoid the Zika Virus, McQuerry says why not be safe than sorry.
The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center is issuing a major public health alert as the Zika Virus threatens their blood supply.
Since the Zika Virus is transmitted through blood, the Food and Drug Administration mandates all travelers to Zika-affected areas such as Mexico postpone donations for 28 eight days.