Resources to Fight Against Zika in Cameron Co. Running Low

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BROWNSVILLE – Cameron County officials said they are running out of resources when it comes to fighting Zika.

The count of confirmed Zika cases in Cameron County has held steady at 18 - 12 travel related and six locally acquired.

Cameron County Health Administrator Esmeralda Guajardo said the number of cases could increase. The county is awaiting confirmation on test results for five pregnant women.

“As more women are getting tested, then of course the possibility of having more cases is going to go up,” she said.

The Cameron County Health Department has to stretch the little resources they have to fight the virus.

“The municipalities were not prepared, even us as at the county level. Zika is something new, and it’s constantly changing so we need to make sure we’re up to date with the latest methods to try to contain it,” Guajardo said.

Environmental Health Director Gus Olivares said the first locally transmitted case in Brownsville caught them off guard. He called in all cities throughout the county for training on how to properly trap mosquitoes with a Centers for Disease Control scientist.

Guajardo said the lack of resources is putting the county at a disadvantage. They’re constantly having to catch up to the virus.

“We need staffing and we need the equipment and we need to be able to plan for the future. We can’t. It seems like we’re just being reactive. It’s a constant reactive process that we’re going through and we need to start being proactive. But we need the resources,” she said.

Guajardo said Cameron County is leading the way in the fight against Zika despite the challenges. She said other health departments across the state are asking staff to pass down the information on how Zika works and how to fight it.

She said a lab is needed as new cases of Zika will continue and test results need to be known sooner.

“The time factor, it’s huge. It’s huge for us to be able to accurately contain this and that’s one of the things that we need to make sure the state understands. We have to have the resources for a prompt response,” she explained.

Guajardo submitted a request for $1 million from the state to better contain the virus.


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