As the Zika virus spreads, Texas is seeking to ramp up its effort to fight the spread.
To that end, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) intends to increase Texas’ response to the virus through various preventative measures.
“Mosquito season is approaching, and the number of travel-related cases continues to inch up for Texas,” John Hellerstedt, DSHS commissioner, said. “It’s only a matter of time before Zika virus is locally transmitted here by mosquitoes.”
Texas is a prime area for the spread of the virus, with its warm climate that allows mosquitoes to live and breed nearly year round. There have been 18 cases in Texas, one of which was sexually transmitted. There have not been any cases transferred via mosquitoes, though the Aedes mosquito -- which is responsible for the spread -- is found in Texas.
“We’re focusing on urging people to strictly follow the guidance to prevent the disease,” Hellerstedt said. “We need everyone on board, helping to cut down mosquito populations and avoid mosquito bites as we head into spring.”
Texas officials are teaming up with officials in the Rio Grande Valley to monitor mosquitos, as well as setting up traps to check for the Aedes mosquito, though the mosquito has not been spotted yet this season.