Texas Health Officials Prepare for the "Virus from Hell"

May 19, 2016

John Hellerstedt, commissioner of the Department of State Health Services, testifies Tuesday during a Senate of Texas Committee on Health and Human Sciences hearing on the Zika virus at the Capitol.
Credit Ralph Barrera / Austin American-Statesman

Texas health officials have deemed Zika “the virus from Hell.” As summer approaches, efforts are underway to combat the virus, reports The Austin American Statesman. The state’s undertaking is focused on controlling the mosquito population.

To date, Texas has seen 35 confirmed cases of people infected with the virus. Among pregnant women, the disease can cause a birth defect characterized by stunted brain development. It is also associated with typically mild symptoms like fever, rash, joint pain and red eye.

All but one of the Texas cases involved people who were infected abroad. The other case involved a Dallas man who contracted the virus through sexual contact. Officials expect cases contracted through mosquito bites to begin popping up in June or July. Texans are encouraged to wear insect repellent, stay indoors when mosquitoes are most active and get rid of standing water.