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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Members of the Texas Medical Association say doctors here in the state are preparing to fight a “potential Zika epidemic.”

A report in Texas Medicine Magazine details how doctors are preparing to confront the local transmission of the virus in Texas.

Thus far all of the Zika cases in Texas either involved a person infected when they traveled abroad or had sexual intercourse with someone who had recently visited a region of the world where the Zika virus is exploding — Brazil and Puerto Rico.

The biggest concern is that pregnant women infected with Zika could spread the disease to their unborn child. While the Zika virus rarely results in hospitalization or death, the biggest concern is the virus’s possible link to microcephaly, a condition that causes babies to be born with unusually small heads.

It is the height of mosquito season in Texas and health officials are encouraging residents to reduce mosquito breeding sites by:

  • Routinely dump standing water on their property
  • Overturn all small containers holding liquid
  • Dispose of any trash or debris that can contain small amounts of water

“In my opinion, it’s not all about hardware and hiring professionals to go out and spray,” said Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt told Texas Magazine. “A lot of it is leadership and getting out into communities and faith-based organizations, service organizations in those communities, to get out there and help their neighbors … and make people aware of just how powerful and effective these very simple measures are that they can undertake.”

Aedes aegypti, the mosquito blamed for the Zika outbreak linked to birth defects in Brazil, can be found in the southern U.S. from Florida to California. Another carrier is the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, which has a more northerly range that includes cities such as Chicago and New York.

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