MIAMI — A National Institutes of Health official said Sunday that the Zika virus could “hang around” the United States for a year or two.
Anthony Fauci told ABC’s “This Week” that other Gulf Coast states, besides Florida, are most vulnerable to the spread of the disease.
“I would not be surprised if we see cases in Texas and Louisiana, particularly now where you have the situation with flooding in Louisiana,” said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “There are going to be a lot of problems getting rid of standing water.”
Mosquito-borne Zika cases have been found in two neighborhoods of Miami-Dade County: the Wynwood neighborhood and Miami Beach. They are the first areas on the U.S. mainland where health officials determined that mosquitoes were transmitting Zika, which has spread through Latin America and the Caribbean.
Fauci said mosquito control is the best way to stop the spread of Zika, which can cause severe birth defects, including microcephaly, when pregnant women are infected.
“With our experience with other similar viruses like dengue, this is something that could hang around for a year or two,” he said. “Hopefully, we get to a point to where we could suppress it so that we won’t have any risk of it.”