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Zika Virus: Protection and Prevention

The Zika virus spreads through the bite of certain types of mosquitoes. While it can cause fever, rash, joint pain, and red or pink eyes, about 80 percent of people with Zika do not become ill or have symptoms. Zika can also spread through blood transfusions and sexual contact.

Currently, there is no vaccine or treatment for the Zika virus. Your best protection is to avoid infection. Prevent mosquito breeding and protect yourself from mosquito bites.

See additional information on prevention , symptoms , and more at .

Also see Texas requirements for emergency control of mosquitoes.

Measures for Individuals to Protect Themselves from Mosquito Bites

  • Wear insect repellent.
  • Cover up with long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Keep mosquitoes out with air conditioning or intact window screens.
  • Limit outdoor activities during peak mosquito times.

Measures for Individuals to Prevent Mosquito Breeding

At least weekly, carefully check the area around your home, school or workplace for mosquito breeding areas:

  • Clear and empty gutters.
  • Empty or get rid of cans, buckets, old tires, pots, plant saucers and other containers that hold water.
  • Remove standing water around structures and from flat roofs.
  • Change water in pet dishes daily.
  • Rinse and scrub vases and other indoor water containers weekly.
  • Change water in wading pools and bird baths several times a week.
  • Maintain backyard pools or hot tubs.
  • Cover trash containers.
  • Water lawns and gardens carefully so water does not stand for several days.
  • Screen rain barrels and openings to water tanks or cisterns.
  • Treat front and back door areas of homes with residual insecticides if mosquitoes are abundant nearby.

If mosquito problems persist, consider pesticide applications for vegetation around the home.

Measures to Protect Communities from Zika Virus

  • Conduct neighborhood outreach about active precautions individuals can take to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites.
  • Initiate or enhance monitoring and surveillance of mosquito activity.
  • Develop a local contingency plan for mosquito abatement and surveillance, and plan for additional control measures if needed.
  • Keep public drains and ditches clear of weeds and trash so water will not collect.
  • Implement efforts to clean up illegal dump sites and collect heavy trash.
  • Encourage people to report illegal dumpsites and standing water, and respond quickly to these complaints.


Source: and the Texas Department of State Health Services