Gov. Abbott Appoints Infectious Disease Task Force in Response to Zika
Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced today in a press release that he has appointed an infectious disease task force to limit and prepare for Zika - a mosquito-borne virus.
The Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response consists of 31 members with Dr. John Hellerstedt serving as director. Governor Abbott's decision to appoint a task force was described in the press release:
... to provide expert, evidence-based assessments, protocols, and recommendations related to state responses to infectious diseases, and to serve as a reliable and transparent source of information and education for Texas leadership and citizens.
The primary concern of Zika is that of pregnant women becoming infected since the virus has a correlation to babies born with abnormally small heads – a condition known as microcephaly.
CNN reported that the virus is being locally transmitted in Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname, Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Venezuela.
On Tuesday, Texas was home to the first United States case of local transmission of Zika through sexual intercourse. The man who traveled to Venezuela had sex with his partner and in turn, she contracted the virus without having traveled outside of the U.S.