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Galveston faces 3 new Zika cases as Congress fails to start defense fund

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GALVESTON, Texas — You could almost write this story yourself: Zika cases are on the rise.

Florida officials announced Tuesday the state has six new locally transmitted cases — bring its total to 70 people. And don't think you're safe here in Texas.

Galveston County just confirmed three new cases in it's neck of the woods. The big difference is there is no evidence of them being locally transmitted. The six patients had traveled to places like Mexico, Venezuela, the Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic before coming to the island, Galveston County Health District officials said.

Officials said among the infected were four women and two men, who contracted the virus there but have since recovered.

So what's next? Well, if Congress has a say, maybe nothing.

Republicans voted yes on $1.1 billion bill to fight Zika, which passed in the Houston but was swatted by Democrats in the Senate. Apparently, the Grand Old Party tired to slip in a line that would restrict funding for Planned Parenthood and the Democrats weren't having it.

"The Senate voted three times to block this," Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said. "They need to get past the politics and work with us to protect the public."

The bottom line: with Zika, it seems we've gotta look out for ourselves! Here's a few suggestions:

  • Keep your gutters clean
  • Keep the bug spray with DEET handy.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants outdoors (especially at dawn and dusk, prime hunting time for the blood suckers)
  • Get rid of all standing water.
  • And above all, if you've traveled to an active Zika hotspot (like Florida and the other places mentioned), spray yourself down with bug spray every time you're outside for at least three weeks.

You may not have Zika symptoms, but you could be carrying the virus from your trip. And one bite from a local mosquito could spread it to your family, neighbors — basically everyone.

No one wants to be Patient Zero at the next neighborhood block party.