4 Cities in Texas Included in Hot Spots for Zika Virus, State Says They are Ready but Funding Would Help

By Katherine Pine, Parent Herald June 28, 12:10 am

Four Texas cities are included in the list of hotspots where Zika virus could spread and the state said that they are ready but funding from the government could help them in their preparation to battle the disease.

The top 10 Zika virus hotspots listed by Fit Organics include Dallas-Fort Worth, Miami-Fr. Lauderdale, Austin, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Houston, Orlando, Cincinnati, San Antonio, and Phoenix. They have come up with the list from the data collected from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the areas having high demands for mosquito repellant.

The Dallas Morning News reported that federal health officials in Texas are now evaluating the proposed Zika plan by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. The plan asks more than $10 million to help the state prepare for the impact of the Zika virus. In the coming days, CDC will be deciding how much money it will be giving to Texas and other areas that are most likely to be affected. Concerns in Texas about the virus has become stronger last week when Dallas County Health and Human Services announced that 10 pregnant women tested positive regarding the virus.

Zika virus cases in the United States are mostly travel-related when the person has come from an area where Zika virus has spread like wildfire. Also, non-travelers mostly get the disease through sexual intercourse with the traveler coming from the country with Zika virus. This has been echoed by the public health experts in Texas saying that they have not contracted the virus from domestic mosquitoes.

The Texas Department of State Health Services has spent around $420,000 in general revenue to boost the capacity of testing laboratories and mosquito traps to track the species linked to Zika.

Christine Mann, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State Health Services, said in a statement that they are positioned to do more efforts if more resources and funds become available. It is unclear, however, if federal funding will be coming through.

Richard Duhrkopf, an associate professor of biology at Baylor University in Waco and has spent around more than 30 years studying mosquitoes, said that everything is being done now adding, "We need money, and we need it appropriated wisely. Not just because of Zika; there are other viruses out there, some of which haven't even been named yet."

Health experts are advising people to follow the guidelines released by CDC especially for pregnant women.

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