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Influenza – Nov. 17, 2017

The 2017–2018 flu season has begun, and DSHS encourages everyone to get vaccinated now. Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by one of a number of related viruses. The flu vaccine is made up of strains similar to ones likely to be circulating in North America, and early 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. 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 local flu activity in Texas and minimal levels of influenza-like illness.

Additional information:
DSHS news release
Flu surveillance background

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

Zika Virus – Nov. 21, 2017

DSHS and Hidalgo County have determined that a mosquito bite in Texas was the probable source of a Hidalgo County resident’s previous Zika infection, making it the first local mosquito infection we know of in 2017. Read more in the DSHS news release Health Officials Find Probable Local Zika Infection.

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 November 17, 41 Zika cases have been reported for 2017, with 323 cases reported for 2015 and 2016. Full data for previous years is available at

Bexar - 4
Brazoria - 1
Brazos - 1
Cameron† - 11            
Collin - 2 
Dallas - 2      
Denton - 1 
Harris - 10                    
Hidalgo - 1                         
Kerr - 1
Lubbock - 1
Smith - 2
Travis - 1
Upshur - 1
Webb - 1
Williamson - 1

All cases are travel associated except where otherwise noted.
† Includes one case transmitted by mosquitoes in Texas (Cameron).

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.

The Texas Department of State Health Services continues to prepare for the possible transmission of Zika virus in Texas by emphasizing how people can protect themselves, increasing the state’s capacity to test for the virus, and working with local governments to assess mosquito control capabilities and activities.

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 News Releases

Zika Virus at CDC

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West Nile – Nov. 21, 2017

Texas is again experiencing illnesses caused by West Nile virus, a virus spread by mosquitoes. So far this year, there have been 127 confirmed human cases, including five deaths. In 2016, Texas reported 370 human cases of West Nile illness, including 18 deaths. Most people who get infected don’t get sick, but about 20 percent will experience symptoms of West Nile fever: headache, fever, muscle and joint aches, nausea and fatigue. In one percent of infections or less, the virus can affect the nervous system, causing a case of West Nile neuroinvasive disease that can include neurological symptoms like disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis, coma and even death. The precautions used to prevent mosquito bites to stop Zika will also help prevent West Nile infections.

2017 West Nile Cases
County West Nile Fever West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease Total
Bexar 2 3
Bowie 2 2
Collin 4 8 12
Cooke 1 1
Dallas 11 15 26
Deaf Smith 1 1
Denton 7 4 11
El Paso 3 11 14
Ellis 1 1
Harris 1 12 13
Hockley 1 1
Hutchinson 1 1
Johnson 1 1
Karnes 1 1
Limestone 1 1
Lubbock 2 2
Montgomery 2 2
Nueces 1 1
Panola 1 1
Potter 1 1
Randall 1 1
Rockwall 1 1
San Patricio 1 1
Sterling 1 1
Swisher 1 1
Tarrant 9 11 20
Val Verde 1 1
Van Zandt 1 1 2
Webb   1 1
Wheeler   1 1
Williamson   1 1
Total 46 81 127

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Last updated November 21, 2017