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Influenza – Feb. 16, 2018

Flu has been reported widely across Texas for the last few weeks, and DSHS encourages people to do everything they can to prevent the spread of the flu. Everyone should wash their hands frequently, cover coughs and sneezes and stay home when sick.

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 widespread flu activity in Texas and high levels of influenza-like illness.

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 – Feb. 20, 2018

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 February 16, 48 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† - 12                 
Collin - 3       
Dallas - 2      
Denton - 1 
Harris - 11                         
Hidalgo† - 4                             
Kerr - 1
Lubbock - 1
Smith - 2 
Tarrant - 1      
Travis - 1
Upshur - 1
Webb - 1
Williamson - 1

All cases are travel associated except where otherwise noted.
† Includes cases transmitted by mosquitoes in Texas Cameron (1); Hidalgo (1).

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 News Releases

Zika Virus at CDC

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West Nile – Jan. 18, 2018

Texas has concluded West Nile virus surveillance for 2017. There were 133 cases, including five deaths, reported during the year. The table from the final week of reporting is below. We’ll begin updating a new table for 2018 in the spring.

County West Nile Fever West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease Total
Bexar 3 4
Bowie 2 2
Collin 4 8 12
Cooke 1 1
Dallas 11 15 26
Deaf Smith 1 1
Denton 7 5 12
El Paso 3 11 14
Ellis 1 1
Harris 2 13 15
Hockley 1 1
Hutchinson 1 1
Jim Wells 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
Smith 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 48 85 133

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Last updated February 20, 2018