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Influenza – Apr. 16, 2018

Flu in Texas has been easing over the last few weeks after the apparent peak of the flu season in late January; however, there is still flu circulating in the state

It is not too late to get vaccinated. The flu vaccine is made up of strains similar to ones currently circulating in North America, and vaccination provides the best protection against contracting the flu. Vaccination is especially important for people with chronic health conditions and weaker immune systems and their caregivers. DSHS recommends that people see their healthcare provider as soon as they have symptoms. Prescription antiviral medication may lessen the severity of the illness. Additional information about influenza and ways to stop the spread of the flu virus can be found at

DSHS monitors influenza activity across the state all year. The most recent flu surveillance report shows sporadic flu activity in Texas and minimal levels of influenza-like illness. There have been 14 pediatric flu deaths reported in Texas this flu season.

Additional information:
DSHS news release
Flu surveillance background
Flu Message from Commissioner Hellerstedt on YouTube: 3:38 spot | 0:57 spot

For the latest Zika news, see our News Releases page and/or

Zika Virus – Apr.17, 2018

DSHS has received reports of the first Texas Zika cases of 2018, two travel-related cases in residents of Williamson County who got sick while abroad. People should remember to protect themselves from mosquito bites this spring as they travel, particularly to warmer climates where Zika is more prevalent, like Central and South America and the Caribbean.

DSHS provides updates every Tuesday on the number of Zika virus disease cases in Texas by the patient’s county of residence. As of the week ending Apr. 13, two Zika cases have been reported for 2018. There have been 55 cases reported for 2017, though that number could still change. Full data for previous years is available at

2018 Zika cases by county

Williamson - 2

All 2018 cases are associated with travel.

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause fever, rash, muscle and joint aches and red eyes (conjunctivitis). Symptoms are usually mild, and most people exposed to Zika virus won’t develop any symptoms at all. Zika has also been linked to a birth defect called microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with the virus while pregnant.

Because the virus spreads from place to place through human travel, DSHS encourages people to follow travel precautions for countries and regions where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. That generally includes Latin America, the Caribbean and some Pacific islands. DSHS recommends travelers avoid mosquito bites while abroad and for 21 days after returning, in case they have been exposed to the virus.

People everywhere can protect themselves from mosquito bites and the threat of Zika by taking a few simple steps:

  • Apply EPA-registered insect repellents.
  • Wear pants and long-sleeved shirts that cover exposed skin.
  • Use screens or close windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home. 
  • Remove standing water in and around your home.
  • Cover trash cans or containers where water can collect.

Additional information at

Texas Zika Campaign Materials

DSHS Zika News Releases

Zika Virus at CDC

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Last updated April 17, 2018