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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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June 16, 2024

B-CS experts meet to respond to Zika virus

Local environmental and medical experts met Wednesday morning to coordinate the efforts College Station, Bryan and Texas A&M are taking in response to the spread of Zika virus.

The round table was attended by representatives from major hospitals in the Bryan-College Station area, the A&M Health Science Center, College Station Environmental and Health Science Center and experts on mosquito populations.

Julie Anderson, director for the Bryan Community Health Services Division, was among the representatives at the meeting. Anderson said the experts used the meeting to develop a plan to combat the Zika virus through both medical and environmental methods. Some of these methods include funding for mosquito testing, giving out DUNKs — or floating disks that kill mosquitoes — and public service announcements. 

Experts from the meeting also encourage citizens to avoid standing water, use mosquito repellant and utilize the DUNKs that are given out.

Dr. Martha Dannenbaum, director of the Student Health Center said right now the biggest concern with the Zika virus is that about 80 percent of the people who contract it do not have any symptoms of being infected.

The virus has become an international concern after becoming possibly linked to causing microcephaly — an abnormally small head — in the fetuses of pregnant women.

“They are not worried about people dying from this,” Dannenbaum said. “They are worried that it is associated with a very serious birth defect.”

Dannenbaum said there are still a lot of unknowns about the Zika virus, such as which stage of development the fetuses are most vulnerable and the full list of methods that it can be transmitted.

“When someone is actively ill, they can transmit it sexually,” Dannenbaum said. “We do not know if saliva is an issue, such as kissing or sharing drinks.”

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