Zika Poses a Major Threat to Texas

Feb 3, 2016

When Dr. Peter Hotez hears experts assert that Zika is unlikely to spread significantly in the US, his response is: go to the Houston’s Fifth Ward and look around.
Credit Tom Dart / The Guardian

The World Health Organization recently warned that the Zika virus is spreading “explosively” through the Americas. Some experts estimate there could be as many as four million infections across the two continents over the next year, reports The Guardian. And Texas is perfectly situated to allow the virus to flourish. The disease is transmitted by mosquitos.

Margaret Chan, the WHO director general warned that “pretty much all the Gulf Coast cities are vulnerable, but Houston is the largest.” She added that the disease was a threat of “alarming proportions.” For example, Houston’s Fifth Ward is full of dilapidated housing, inadequate or absent window screens, standing water and poor drainage. It’s a mosquito paradise.

The most common symptoms of Zika are mild, but the disease can be transmitted from pregnant mothers to babies. Zika has been linked to brain damage in thousands of South and Central American newborns.