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Zika Still A Concern In San Antonio Despite WHO Announcement

Wendy Rigby
Texas Public Radio

The World Health Organizationannounced it no longer considers the Zika virus a global emergency.

But that doesn’t mean the threat of the mosquito-borne virus is gone.

In fact, Rita Espinoza, Chief of Epidemiology at the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District said the type of mosquito that carries Zika is still around in South Texas, despite cooler weather.

"Because we don’t have hard freezes like some people up north, there’s always the potential that we will have mosquitoes year round," Espinoza said. "So, we still want individuals to be vigilant about eliminating water sources, breeding sites for mosquitoes, and still use the prevention activities to prevent them from being bitten by a mosquito. We will have to continue to deal with it just as we do with dengue, West Nile and other diseases."

The WHO emphasized just because the emergency is over does not mean the Zika crisis itself is over.

The disease is a big threat to unborn children of pregnant women infected with the virus.

Zika is expected to remain a health problem in the Western Hemisphere for years to come.

Wendy Rigby is a San Antonio native who has worked as a journalist for more than 25 years. She spent two decades at KENS-TV covering health and medical news. Now, she brings her considerable background, experience and passion to Texas Public Radio.