Health officials say local spread of Zika 'likely' in Texas

Published: May. 18, 2016 at 11:20 AM CDT
Email this link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Texas has identified 33 cases of the Zika virus that all were associated with overseas travel - but the virus is expected to begin spreading within the state soon.

Top state officials told a Texas Senate health panel Tuesday that potential hot zones include Dallas, Houston, the Gulf Coast and the Rio Grande Valley. Zika is commonly spread by mosquitoes.

There have been 500-plus Zika cases nationwide, but all involved foreign travel.

Health officials told lawmakers that Texas can only conduct a few dozen blood tests for the virus per week. That means an outbreak could overwhelm the system.

Texas has formed a special infectious disease task force, and scientists are working on a vaccine. But it won't be ready by when peak mosquito season begins later this month.