Dallas County Prepared if Zika Virus Arrives: Officials | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Dallas County Prepared if Zika Virus Arrives: Officials

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    Dallas County is prepared if the Zika virus spreads to North Texas, County Judge Clay Jenkins says. (Published Monday, Feb. 1, 2016)

    Dallas County is prepared if the Zika virus spreads to North Texas, County Judge Clay Jenkins says.

    "We're a lot better prepared for mosquito-borne outbreaks than we were in 2012, when we had the West Nile virus outbreak," Jenkins said.

    During the past several years Dallas County has dedicated millions to learning about mosquito-borne illnesses, Jenkins said. Now comes the latest test in the Zika virus.

    Already widespread in Central and South America, many people are worried infected mosquitoes could move into the United States.

    If that happens, Dallas County has a plan.

    "We have a lot more trucks. We have contracts in place for all types of spraying," Jenkins said. "We have much more capability to monitor and trap mosquitoes."

    And the county can test those mosquitoes quicker, Jenkins said.

    Additionally Jenkins said if a person comes back with the Zika virus from another country, crews will do a survey around that person's home, lay traps to look for mosquitoes with the virus and, if any are found to be positive, crews will spray and knock down the population.

    Still, health officials said families shouldn't be too worried.

    "You've gotta understand mosquitoes don't fly very far: 250 to 300 yards is usually the range," said Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja.

    The best thing you can do is protect yourself and your home from mosquitoes.

    "Again, prevention is better than trying to worry about a lot of things, how can we fight this disease.

    The best thing is to get educated about how to prevent the disease in the first place," Taneja said.

    Health officials said West Nile virus is far more dangerous than Zika, but they still want people to be aware, and they are still urging pregnant women not to travel to countries affected by Zika.


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