Dallas County lab could soon test for Zika virus

- Dallas County Health and Human Services hopes to soon be able to test for the Zika virus here in North Texas.

Currently specimens are sent to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. The county is still waiting on results of four specimens sent in last week.

In the meantime, Health Director Zach Thompson said he wants the public to know the people being tested pose no public health risk and there are currently no mosquitos carrying the virus in the county.

“So there’s no issue with them being in your neighborhood and having the virus. That’s what we want to put Dallas County residents to rest on that there are no mosquitos carrying the Zika virus,” he said.

Once Dallas County is approved for testing locally, the focus will be on pregnant women who have travelled to areas with outbreaks.

On a national level, President Barack Obama is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to help fight Zika.

The money would expand mosquito control programs, speed the development of a vaccine, develop diagnostic tests and improve support for low-income pregnant women.

Most people who catch the virus experience mild or no symptoms. But there is concern about a link between birth defects and pregnant women who become infected.

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