“With 4.5 million people in a hot, muggy metropolis built atop a bayou, America’s fourth-largest city, Houston, is a perfect target for the mosquito-borne Zika virus. But it may be better prepared than any other urban center to stop an outbreak.
The city last year increased its mosquito-control budget by 33 percent. Officials are testing new high-tech traps and have plans to release genetically modified mosquitoes that produce short-lived offspring, reducing the population.
Should the virus start spreading here, officials are prepared to follow Miami’s example, beginning aerial spraying and house-to-house inspections to clear standing water in which mosquitoes breed.”
“The biggest weakness in the county’s defenses is that officials still do “passive surveillance” for cases of Zika infection — meaning they must wait for doctors to report them.
Not every doctor who sees a rash and red eyes thinks of Zika. Test results can take weeks, and doctors often fail to alert the health department to new cases, even though they are legally required to do so.
Months could elapse before the city realizes the virus has appeared. A recent paper in Nature concluded that Zika actually arrived in Miami in March or April, but was not detected until July.”
IS YOU AREA’S HEALTH CARE SYSTEM PREPARED FOR A SURGE OF AN EMERGING VIRUS LIKE ZIKA?
* Houston Braces for Another Brush With the Peril of Zika by Donald G. McNeil Jr., https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/17/health/zika-virus-houston-texas.html