Zika Virus Could Soon Make Its Way to Texas

A little-known mosquito-borne virus could soon be making its way to Texas.

The Zika virus has shown up in the Caribbean and South America and health officials are concerned the United States could be next.

"It spreads pretty quickly, the mosquitoes are available that spread that virus so in the next couple of years, you're going to hear about the virus in Texas," said Dr. Richard Wallace, infectious diseases expert at University of Texas Health Northeast.

Much like dengue and West Nile, the virus is spreading in areas that have never experienced it before.

Experts believe that has a lot to do with precipitation patterns that form the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.

The outbreak of the Zika virus has been linked to microcephaly,  a condition in which babies are born with only partially developed brains.

"Most of the sensitivity is that a certain time period like the first trimester, once the baby is pretty well along, for example a small head," said Wallace.

But because it was previously so rare, the scientific community has a significant amount more to learn about the virus.

On Monday, the Galveston National Laboratory announced it is tracking the spread of Zika and conducting research to better understand and address the threat. GNL, which is located at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, is one of two National Biocontainment Laboratories.

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