Texas Health Officials Concerned Over Possible Homegrown Zika Case in Mexican Border State

RECIFE, BRAZIL - JANUARY 26:  Aedes aegypti mosquitos are seen in a lab at the Fiocruz institute on January 26, 2016 in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil. The mosquito transmits the Zika virus and is being studied at the institute. In the last four months, authorities have recorded close to 4,000 cases in Brazil in which the mosquito-borne Zika virus may have led to microcephaly in infants. The ailment results in an abnormally small head in newborns and is associated with various disorders including decreased brain development. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Zika virus outbreak is likely to spread throughout nearly all the Americas. At least twelve cases in the United States have now been confirmed by the CDC. (PHOTO CREDIT: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
RECIFE, BRAZIL – JANUARY 26: Aedes aegypti mosquitos are seen in a lab at the Fiocruz institute on January 26, 2016 in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil. The mosquito transmits the Zika virus and is being studied at the institute. In the last four months, authorities have recorded close to 4,000 cases in Brazil in which the mosquito-borne Zika virus may have led to microcephaly in infants. The ailment results in an abnormally small head in newborns and is associated with various disorders including decreased brain development. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Zika virus outbreak is likely to spread throughout nearly all the Americas. At least twelve cases in the United States have now been confirmed by the CDC. (PHOTO CREDIT: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Hidalgo County health officials are concerned about an investigation into what could be Nuevo Leon, Mexico’s first homegrown Zika virus case.

Hidalgo County health officials want to emphasize that no localized or homegrown cases are confirmed in the county or in the state of Texas. The urgency now is to the get word out to Rio Grande Valley communities.

Proyecto Azteca officials said the Indian Hills east and west subdivisions in rural Mercedes are on the top of the list. These are places that are a major concern in Hidalgo County.

Amber Arriaga Salinas is the spokesperson for Proyecto Azteca. She said one of the biggest problems in the area of those subdivisions is a large pool of standing water. It’s a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

“We’ve heard that there’s a private owner. We don’t know who it is, but we don’t know how to fix this problem,” Arriaga said. “We’re looking at different ways to find out who the owner is, how we can fix it. I know that the community has come together to collect signatures, to take it to the county, to say we are all residents of this area and we’re very concerned.”

High grass, piles of brush, trash and abandoned tires are also a problem. People who live in the Indian Hills area know something has to be done to clean it up.

Lourdes Salinas is leading the effort with help from Proyecto Azteca. She said it’s crucial. She wants protection for herself and her neighbors from mosquito-carrying viruses, like Zika.

“They’re not aware of it or they don’t see the news. I think we have to pass the voice by meetings, or we’re going to put some flyers here,” Salinas said. “We have a small convenience store, and I have the community leaders passing out the voice. They have to keep clean and pass the voice, the danger that this mosquito is.”

Hidalgo County Health and Human Services Director Eddie Olivarez said the time to mobilize coalitions, like Proyecto Azteca, is now. These organizations will help get the word out about the Zika virus to the people who live in the county.

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SOURCE: KRGV.com