A National Institute of Health official said Sunday that Gulf States like Texas and Louisiana are increasingly at risk of a Zika virus outbreak.
Anthony Fauci, director of the Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” that states along the Gulf Coast are most at risk from the mosquito-borne disease because they are in semi-tropical regions. Louisiana is especially susceptible, Fauci said, because of recent flooding.
“I would not be surprised if we see cases in Texas, in Louisiana, particularly now where you have a situation with flooding in Louisiana,” Fauci told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week.” “There are going to be a lot of problems getting rid of standing water.”
The Zika virus, which has been linked to birth defects during pregnancy, has spread through Florida, particularly in the Miami Beach area, with the total number of cases now at 36. Fauci said that while he did not believe a widespread outbreak of Zika would hit the U.S., people should take the threat of the virus seriously.
“I do not think, although we need to be prepared for it, that we’re going to see a diffuse, broad outbreak in the United States because of a number of issues, particularly the conditions in our country … would not really make that a very likely happening,” he said, later adding, “Hopefully, we get to a point to where we could suppress it so that we won’t have any risk of it.”
This article originally appeared on Time.com.