To address the rise of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has expanded their Zika testing recommendations for pregnant women in South Texas. They are doing this ahead of the warmer weather season which typically sees a rise in the mosquito population. Texas is one of several states in the U.S. that has the Aedes aegypt mosquito species which carries the Zika virus. Zika has been shown to be the cause of severe birth defects, when the expectant mother is a carrier of the virus.
The Texas Recommendation for Zika Testing
The DSHS recommends that all pregnant women living in the Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata counties of Texas be tested for Zika during both the first and second trimesters of their pregnancy. Any resident of these counties who has had a rash and any other Zika symptom such as eye redness, joint pain or fever should also be tested.
All Texas residents who have at least three of these symptoms should be tested for Zika, as should all those who are pregnant and who have visited current Zika transmission areas, including any region of Mexico. DSHS authorities say that they want to be especially vigilant in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, which is considered a high-risk area since Texas had six local Zika virus transmission cases in Brownsville late in 2016. This region is a likely location for Zika, due to its history of dengue, which is a similar type of virus, plus its closeness to Mexico, where Zika transmission continues. These affected communities include those that are just over the U.S./Mexico border.
Zika Virus Facts
In 2016, 10 percent of women who were confirmed to be infected with Zika during their pregnancy had a baby or fetus with serious birth defects. The first U.S. state to report a local Zika transmission was Florida, with Texas following. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. territories including Puerto Rico had 36,504 Zika cases. In addition to being transmitted through a bite by an infected insect, Zika can also be transmitted sexually.
As of this date, there is no known vaccine or treatment for the Zika virus. As many as 80 percent of those who are infected do not have symptoms, which makes it difficult to know if they’ve been infected. That is another reason why these new testing guidelines are so important.
The Best Way to Prevent the Zika Virus
The best form of prevention of Zika is to limit one’s exposure to mosquitos as much as possible. Staying indoors, wearing protective clothing and using insect repellent are ways to do this, but a far more effective method that lets you, your family and your customers to enjoy the outdoor environment is to use the highly effective MosquitoNix® mosquito control. Our MosquitoNix Misting System removes mosquitos and other flying insects from your property. If you’re planning a special outdoor event, our Mosquito Fogging Treatment offers excellent temporary relief from mosquitos. For an all-natural mosquito control solution, use our MosquitoNix Green system.