Concerns that the mosquito-borne Zika virus can produce birth defects has caused widespread alarm and led to the World Health organization declaring the Zika virus an international emergency
The City of Houston is taking the Zika virus very seriously too.
The Houston Health Department is working with regional partners to prepare and pre-empt transmission of Zika virus in the Houston area. Health Department officials participated in a Jan. 29 meeting with Harris County and other regional partners, including blood banks, healthcare providers, petrochemical companies, mosquito control specialists, and others to begin developing plans for combating the virus. The city will continue coordinating with regional, state and federal partners to prevent the virus.
The virus is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The infection is usually mild, lasting from several days to a week, and includes fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes).
Severe illness requiring hospitalization is uncommon, but there may be serious complications for pregnant women.
The World Health Organization declared the Zika virus an international emergency in early February, and public health officials are considering barring patients who have traveled to affected areas from donating blood for up to 28 days.