February 4, 2016
Addressing Concerns Regarding the Zike Virus
The City of Houston is taking the Zika Virus very seriously. The Houston Health Department held a planning meeting on January 29th with Harris County and our regional partners, including blood banks, healthcare providers, petrochemical companies, mosquito control specialists, and others to begin developing plans for pre-emptively preparing for and preventing the transmission of Zika virus in the Houston-area. 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, lasts 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.
This week, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Zika virus an international emergency and public health officials are considering barring patients who have traveled to affected areas from donating blood for up to 28 days.
How do we stop the spread of the virus?
- Remove ALL mosquito breeding opportunities around your home by eliminating all standing water, or items that may hold water.
- Use air conditioning or window/door screens to keep mosquitos out
If you are traveling to Central or South America or the Caribbean, it's important to prevent mosquito bites:
- Use insect repellent that contains DEET
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- When you return home, continue using DEET containing insect repellent for two weeks.
For more information on the Zika virus in our community, pregnancy tips, and travel alerts visit:
Frequently Asked Questions can be found here: