Dallas County creates Zika mosquito task force

- A task force has been set up in Dallas County, now that there are two confirmed cases of the Zika virus in the county.

The task force is led by Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, Health Director Zach Thompson and top county public health doctor Christopher Perkins.

The group met Wednesday morning to talk about strategies for dealing with mosquito control in the county.

Scott Sawlis with the county’s environmental health department said current methods for mosquito management are still effective for the Zika species.

Also during the task force meeting, Thompson thanked the cities in Dallas County for their ongoing support in helping control the mosquito population.

The cases investigated in Dallas County were not transmitted by mosquitoes, but sex.

It was a man who had sexual contact with someone who had recently returned from Venezuela, where the mosquito-borne disease is increasingly common.

A majority of infected people show little to no symptoms, but the virus poses a threat to women who are or may become pregnant. Doctors in Latin America have linked it to a serious birth defect.

“Under the sexual transmission, since 80 percent will not have symptoms, that’s a concern,” Thompson said.

“The difference between this mosquito, Chikungunya and the Zika, this one feeds on the blood meal all day long.  Unlike West Nile, dusk to dawn,” Price added.

The concern is now that a person unknowingly infected could be bitten by a mosquito, which could then bite and infect more people.

No Zika mosquitoes have been detected in North Texas yet.

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