Zika Virus | Texas Public Radio

Zika Virus

Erik F. Brandsborg / Flickr

The Zika virus - is a serious threat to the health and welfare of San Antonians and to those across South Texas.

Aaron Schrank / Texas Public Radio

Some infectious disease experts believe the Zika virus has already infected the Texas mosquito population –it just hasn’t been detected.

In this report for our series, “Preparing for Zika in Texas” we look at what health officials in San Antonio say they’re doing to prevent an outbreak and how they would respond if we have one. 

In a neatly landscaped front yard in North San Antonio biology students from Texas A&M University-San Antonio record the types of mosquitoes snared by their sticky traps.

Laredo Braces For Zika Outbreak

Aug 24, 2016
AARON SCHRANK/TPR

Dr. Hector Gonzalez is standing on the Laredo side of the Gateway to the Americas International Bridge—staring across the Rio Grande at Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

“The majority of trailers, the majority of people, pedestrians, the majority of cargo--comes through Laredo,” says Gonzalez, director of Laredo’s Health Department. “But that also, for us, implies disease.”

A series of medical images published Tuesday offer the most complete picture, so far, of how the Zika virus can damage the brain of a fetus.

"The images show the worst brain infections that doctors will ever see," says Dr. Deborah Levine, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, who contributed to the study. "Zika is such a severe infection [in fetuses]. Most doctors will have never seen brains like this before."

Wendy Rigby / Texas Public Radio

Zika can be transmitted several ways, through mosquito bites, sex and blood transfusions. The virus lasts in the bloodstream for a week or two. Although the risk of acquiring Zika through blood products is considered fairly low in the U.S. right now, blood banks are facing a tough transition when dealing with this emerging health threat.

​Expanded Screening  

It’s been less than a month since Zika first started spreading locally in the U.S.

So far, it’s known to be in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami, and Miami Beach. But Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health says it’s entirely likely that the virus could start popping up in other Gulf Coast states, particularly given the recent flooding in Louisiana.

Shelley Kofler / Texas Public Radio

Dr. Anil Mangla is leaving his position as Assistant Director for Communicable Diseases at San Antonio’s Metro Health Department.

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