DALLAS - Some health experts believe the Zika virus is now here in Texas, but they won't know for sure until someone tests positive for it. Zachary Thompson, the director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, stops by Good Day to give an update.
Some health experts are saying that the Zika virus is likely spreading through the local mosquito and human population in Texas, Arizona and California. But the majority of people with Zika won't even know they have it because most don't experience any symptoms.
“Here’s what we know. The Aegypti mosquito that carries the Zika virus is present in the Gulf Coast states, including Texas. The concern is there are mild symptoms. So people could arrive here, not go to the doctor and so the transmission is from the humans who have come from those endemic countries. Our mosquitoes bite them and there starts the transmission,” Thompson said.
According to the CDC there have been more than 800 cases of Zika in the United States, but so far there have been no local mosquito-borne cases. Nearly all were imported and 11 were sexually transmitted.
“The mosquitoes here have not shown any positive transmission of the Zika virus from a positive human to the mosquito population. That’s the game changer. When our mosquitoes start biting individuals, especially the issue is on pregnant females. That’s the game changer,” Thompson said.
There is real concern for pregnant woman right now. The virus could go undetected until a baby is born with a birth defect.
There are also some new studies about how Zika can affect infants. We know it can cause microcephaly, a condition that causes a baby to be born with a small head. But that is not the only effect doctors and researchers are seeing.
“The number one issue we have now is the West Nile virus. In terms of Zika, we’ve not seen the localized transmission. Will we have a localized transmitted case? Yes. It’s not if, but when. But right now the key point is using mosquito repellent to make sure,” Thompson said. “You’ve still got West Nile virus. You’ve still got Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya. So mosquito repellent is all day every day.”