Risk of Zika on the rise as warmer weather returns to Texas

Kurtis Quillin reports

TEMPLE, Texas -- There are new Zika testing recommendations from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The department said the risk of Zika is on the rise as warmer weather returns to Texas.

The new recommendations are designed to help prevent the further spread of the virus. While state health services recommend an increase in overall testing, what central Texans will see is nothing like in another part of the state.

Express ER Doctor Joshua Parker said the prevalence of Zika is rising and the area last year has seen some local transmission of the Zika virus.

In 2016, the state of Texas saw more than 300 confirmed cases of Zika, including eight in our area. The cases sparked a large concern nationwide.

“Give that we have a lot of standing water, it’s definitely a threat, Temple Resident Lisle Meeker said.

Cameron resident Nancy Najera said she does not let her kids go out at night because of the way the insects are.

Over the weekend, the Texas Department of State Health Services announced new suggestions for Zika testing.

Anyone showing three out of the four symptoms for Zika which doctors said are non-specific is asked to get tested. 

“The major symptoms really present like a lot of viral illnesses,” Parker said.

Those symptoms include rash, fever, redness in the eye, and joint pain.

However, for six counties near the Rio Grande, it’s far tighter.

Doctors are recommending pregnant women be tested for the virus in both their first and second trimesters.

Anybody else exhibiting a rash and just one of the other three non-specific symptoms is asked to get tested as well.

So how do we prevent the virus from spreading?

Doctor Parker said one of the biggest ways is getting rid of standing water.

Standing water can be in the following places:

  • Gutters
  • Open Trash Cans
  • Tarps
  • Pooled Water from watering grass

Taking those preventative measures and the additional recommended testing should help control the spread of the virus.

Doctor Parker also stressed that many believe Zika only affects pregnant women. He said everybody needs to pay attention because anybody can transmit the virus.

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