Hurricane Harvey could ignite a surge in mosquitos capable of spreading Zika in southeast Texas, public health experts warned even as the storm was lashing the Gulf Coast over the weekend.
In the short term the storm will actually be a boon, flooding out mosquitos. But the standing water Harvey will leave behind will become their perfect breeding ground, including for Aedes aegypti mosquitos blamed for spreading the disease.
Officials are urging those returning to their homes after the storm to dump flower pots, bird baths and other containers with standing water.
“It’s been a significant part of our messaging for Zika all along and definitely will be something we’re talking about following Harvey,” said Chris Van Deusen, spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services.
The U.S. has enjoyed a relatively Zika-free year in 2017, with just a single case of the disease being spread locally by mosquito. That case came in Hidalgo County, along the border with Mexico.
Tamaulipas, the Mexican state on the other side of the boundary from Hidalgo Country, is one of three hard-hit states in Mexico where the number of Zika cases has risen this year.
Source: The Washington Times