Doctors warn of potential Zika outbreak in Houston's warm climate
HOUSTON – What appears to be the first local outbreak of Zika in the U.S. is happening in a climate very similar to Houston -- in south Florida -- which is why Houston doctors said the Bayou City could be next.
"I believe that's just the tip of the iceberg, I think it's likely there is a lot more transmission going on in Miami," Tropical School of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine dean Dr. Peter Hotez, said.
Harris County Public Health said with 24 cases of Zika in Harris County, it could be in our mosquitoes any day.
Hotez said Houston has several factors that make us vulnerable.
"We are vulnerable, there's no question about it, particularly inner cities," Hotez said. "So I'm worried about the Fifth Ward, Acres Homes, Sunnyside, Aldine, these are areas of special concern for us."
Houston has technology, like traps from Microsoft, which independently identify mosquitoes, and puts our surveillance ahead of other cities. Still, the Department of Public Health says, the resources are not where they need to be in order to keep transmission down.
"We need to be ready, so we can take preventative steps but we need resources. Those resources have not come yet. So we really need to make sure that folks know resources are really critical to this," Dr. Umair Shah, from Harris County Public Health, said.
President Barack Obama asked for $1.6 billion in federal funding to fight Zika. Congress has yet to decide how much and where any pre-existing funds will go.