Health officials preparing for any locally transmitted Zika
HOUSTON - Public health officials in Texas have spent months preparing for what they are certain will be at least some locally transmitted cases of mosquito-borne Zika.
Major Texas cities have sophisticated mosquito screening programs and years of dealing with other mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue and West Nile virus. But most of the state has limited or no mosquito surveillance. The mosquitoes they do capture are typically sent to outside labs, and getting results back can take weeks. The smallest counties often have a single person conducting surveillance.
Dr. Umair Shah, the executive director of the Harris County public health department, says it's a matter of when, not if, the first locally transmitted case will be diagnosed.
Texas has reported nearly 50 people infected with Zika, all associated with travel.