Health professionals discuss Zika virus prevention in Abilene

4. What can you do to protect yourself against Zika?With no treatment or vaccine available, the only protection against Zika is to avoid travel to areas with an active infestation. If you do travel to a country where Zika is present, the CDC advises strict adherence to mosquito protection measures: Use an EPA-approved repellent over sunscreen, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts thick enough to block a mosquito bite, and sleep in air-conditioned, screened rooms, among others. If you have Zika, you can keep from spreading it to others by avoiding mosquito bites during the first week of your illness, says the CDC. The female Aedes aegypti, the primary carrier of Zika, is an aggressive biter, preferring daytime to dusk and indoors to outdoors. Keeping screens on windows and doors is critical to preventing entry to homes and hotel rooms. If that's not possible, says the CDC, sleep under mosquito netting.

ABILENE, Texas - Students, doctors, and nurses at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in Abilene met Monday afternoon to talk about ways of preventing the spread of Zika virus.

As of March 10, there have been seven reports of Zika in Texas. These cases originated elsewhere but were discovered after travel to Texas.

Taylor County Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Vincent Cantu explained that though Zika has not been identified in Taylor County, mosquitos that are able to carry and transmit Zika have been found.

The city of Abilene plans to spray for mosquitos should a positive case be found.

Personal prevention measures should be taken in the meantime to keep you and your family safe.

"We're distributing information along with the Department of State Health Services that stresses the four D's ... dress [appropriately], [apply] DEET, drain [pooling water], and remain indoors," Cantu said.

Make sure to cover up to prevent exposure of skin that mosquitos could bite. When it comes to repellant, there are options available such as oil of lemon eucalyptus, an organic type of repellant, or IR 3535 and Picaridin. Drain containers or tires on your property that can pool water, which creates breeding grounds for mosquitos. If all else fails, stay indoors and keep windows closed.

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