Experts: Replace Windows and Screens Before Zika Virus Spreads To Texas!

As winter turns to spring, and spring inevitably turns into mosquito season, Texas officials are trying to get the state ready for a possible outbreak of the Zika virus.

The Zika virus is currently devastating South and Central America, and the mosquito-borne disease is linked to an epidemic of permanent birth defects to children born from infected mothers. Many experts believe it's only a matter of time before the mosquitoes carrying the virus enter the United States, and as a warm, southern state with a year-round influx of immigrants, Texas is particularly at risk.

Fortunately, there is good news for Texans. Public health officials, local leaders, and healthcare organizations are hard at work getting ready. Cities like Houston are trying to proactively wipe out the larvae of Aedes aegyptimosquitoes. Even better, two Texas hospitals recently developed the first rapid tests for the illness, a major breakthrough.

However, there are also things Texans can do to minimize their risk. Piles of old tires, standing water, and trash serve as fertile breeding grounds for mosquitoes. And in an interview with Texas Public Radio, Peter Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, warned homeowners to make sure their windows are tight, secure, and fitted with screens.

"We're only a few feet from a house which has no window screens," Hotez told a TPR reporter. "So it's the proximity of a house with no window screens, next to the discarded tires, next to the standing water that creates the perfect mix" for mosquitoes. 

Obviously, even the best Texas windows won't protect you when you step outside, but windows, screens, and air conditioning can be a powerful deterrent for your home. As summer approaches, home improvement professionals are hard at work building new decks and patios, but Texas windows have suddenly taken on a new importance. Other home improvement projects may offer a higher ROI; metal roofs and vinyl siding offer up to 85% and 80% ROI on average. But 2016 may not be the year to skimp on replacement windows, and besides, even basic wood replacement windows offer a 70% ROI when you sell your home. 

So if you've noticed your home's windows could use an upgrade, then it would be wise to install replacement windows before the summer starts.