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How Texas Would Respond To A Zika Outbreak

Wiki Commons

State lawmakers at the capitol received an update on how state health officials would respond in the event of a full-blown outbreak of the mosquito-borne illness known as the Zika virus. 

The Department of State Health Services has confirmed 11 cases of the disease in all major Texas cities, the latest being two additional cases of the disease in San Antonio.   A majority of the cases are people who traveled to South and Central America.

The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District confirmed those two additional Zika cases bringing the total number of cases to three in Bexar County.  Each of the individuals acquired the infection while traveling abroad. There are also an additional three individuals under investigation for possible infection.

The agency’s Dr. John Hellerstedt was asked to update the House Committee on Public Health on what the state is doing to control what some see is an eventual outbreak in the U.S.

“One of the things that the CDC is saying is it is likely, eventually, that Zika will become locally-transmitted by mosquito populations in the United States. I think that’s a really important thing to be prepared for," Hellerstedt told state lawmakers.

But as far as  state involvement, Hellerstedt said, much of the response to an outbreak of the disease will come from local officials like San Antonio’s Metro Health, to which he advised how spraying large sections of a city for the Aedes mosquito is useless.

“That is a day-long active biter, it tends to live in areas of human habitation and feed exclusively on human beings," Hellerstedt explained.

He said it would be better if local county health officials would eliminate specific areas known for mosquito-activity before the mosquito breeding season.  While the Zika virus in adults and children causes flu-like symptoms, the disease can attack the neurological development of a pregnant mother’s unborn child. 

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.