Sunday, November 18, 2018
Researchers at Texas Children's working to prevent spread of Zika virus –...

Researchers at Texas Children's working to prevent spread of Zika virus – KHOU.com

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Researchers at Texas Children’s Hospital are trying to develop better diagnostic tests for the Zika Virus.


HOUSTON – Researchers at Texas Children’s Hospital are trying to develop better diagnostic tests for the Zika Virus. 

“It’s about to get really bad (with mosquitos),” Dr. Kristy Murray, an infectious disease specialist with Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital. “We know how the mosquitos are in Houston.”

Rounds of recent rain and flooding provide mosquitos plenty of places of breed. However, it’s those capable of carrying Zika that worry people the most.

“I think they should have already been spraying through here just because there’s been standing water all through these apartments,” Steve Torres, who lives in one of 17 Greenspoint area apartment complexes devastated by the recent flood.

His concern is not being ignored.

Dr. Murray said mosquito control is aggressively trapping and testing local mosquitos. So far, none are known to carry the virus.

However, she and colleagues are preparing for that to change soon. Her lab is trying to develop a better test to diagnose the virus weeks after infection.

The current rapid test works up to a week after, Dr. Murray said.

“When you think about pregnant women, that’s going to be really important because we might have missed that time where we see the virus but we need to see if they’ve been exposed or not,” she said.

For now, officials are focused on reducing risks, which do not include spraying because mosquitos able to carry Zika like to hide.

“They’re usually low-level, kind of hiding in different areas,” Dr. Murray said. “So that spray won’t get to them and you’d have to spray in the middle of the day which is when everybody is outdoors and active. So it’s just really not a safe move.”

Instead, they’re urging people to get rid of debris piles and outdoor containers that hold water.

“Really by doing that, you can do a lot to eliminate those mosquitos,” Dr. Murray said.

Researchers hope they can handle the rest.



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