Health workers say Zika cases down in East Texas - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Health workers say Zika cases down in East Texas

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) -

The mosquito transmitted Zika virus, which was show to cause birth defects in pregnant women,  never gained a foothold in the United States. So far this year, just 19 cases of Zika have been reported in Texas. That's compared to 93 cases in 2016.

Health workers in Gregg county say the mosquito transmitted Zika virus, which was shown to cause birth defects in pregnant women, has never gained a foothold in the United States.
 
"Our mosquitoes, our home population has not been exposed to it. The only way that happens is if somebody that comes in has the disease, they bite that
infected person," says Gregg County Health Department Supervisor Fred Killingsworth.
 
"Last year when the Zika thing came out and everybody was really harping on it. Based on CDC numbers our reported numbers are way down compared to last year," says Gregg County Ag-extension Agent Randy Reeves.

Health workers say proactive preparedness in the states, as opposed to in underdeveloped countries, allowed for better testing and treating of areas where mosquitoes thrive.
 
"It's still there. It's just because of the actions that we've taken so far has helped reduce the mosquito populations," Killingsworth says.

The lower Rio Grande Valley has had a number of cases. But the two species known to carry it have not proliferated in the U.S.

"The species Aedes Egypti, we did see a lot of that species here; over time they just disappeared. Can the other species Albapectis be a carrier of the virus? There's no evidence to show that yet," says Longview Environmental Health Supervisor Buck Farrar.
 
Though it is still out there, technology allows for better testing of mosquito populations.
 
"Over time we've monitored the populations and the types of mosquitoes we have here," Farrar says.

Health workers say along with regular spraying for mosquitoes, they regularly test mosquito populations for Zika and the West Nile virus. Workers we spoke with say mosquito populations will go down as we get into the dry period of summer.

Copyright 2017 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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