With cases of Zika increasing in Texas, state health officials are increasing efforts to protect Texans against the virus and urging them to follow mosquito precautions. As of March 3, the official count for those infected with the Zika virus in Texas was at 18.
According to a press release from the Texas Department of State Health Services, there is no evidence of local transmission of the virus in the state, officials have implemented prevention plans in anticipation of increased mosquito activity and the potential of local transmission.
Zika is spread to humans primarily via an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito, which can be found in Texas, particularly in urban areas in the south and southeast parts of the state.
Seventeen of the 18 confirmed cases have been linked to travel abroad. One case in Dallas County is linked to sexual contact with someone who acquired the virus while traveling abroad.
Testing for the virus is available in a public lab in Austin that has the capacity to test 135 human specimens weekly. Capacity statewide is being added in anticipation of a possible rise in demand. The state has also increased the complexity of serology in the state which are beneficial to infected people who are not showing symptoms.
DSHS issued letters last week to local leaders across the state asking for assistance in protecting Texans from the virus and spreading information on how to delaying and preventing the virus from spreading. According to the release, the best ways to eliminate the spread of the virus include eliminating potential mosquito breeding areas, particularly near homes and communities, are effective against all mosquito-borne diseases.
For a complete action plan, go TexasZika.org.