Lufkin health officials preparing for Zika Virus

Lufkin health officials preparing for Zika Virus

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Health officials with the Angelina County and Cities Health District as well as their partners are preparing for the possibility of the fast-spreading Zika Virus.

The Center for Disease Control is currently looking into 14 new U.S. cases believed to have been sexually transmitted. According to the World Health Organization the Zika Virus is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes.

People with Zika Virus disease usually have symptoms that can include mild fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, or headache. The virus has also caused birth defects in children born from mothers who were infected.

In East Texas, health officials are starting to work with are government offices about how to handle the virus once it reaches the area.

"We had a meeting Wednesday morning and briefed our municipalities about the latest data on Zika Virus," said Sharon Shaw, the director of the Angelina County & Cities Health District. "Immediately following that we had a community partners meeting with all of our cities, our public works representatives and talked about what our strategy was going to be regarding protecting against Zika and educating about Zika."

Shaw said some strategies have already been put in place.

"We need to let everyone know in Angelina County and surrounding counties that each person needs to take responsibility for their own property," Shaw said. "Mosquitoes that carry the virus are daytime bitters. They are around anything that might hold the tiniest amount of water, these day time bitters live in this and they live around your home. All of us as families need to get out on a daily basis and go around our entire property and make sure we don't have larvae for mosquitoes."

Shaw said over the next several weeks pamphlets and hand-outs will be distributed to public buildings for the public to pick up and have.

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