ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Where in the United States is Zika most likely to occur?

Saint Louis University researchers predict future Zika hot spots in the United States – including two specific counties in the metro area.

Led by Dr. Enbal Shacham, the researchers focused on the risk of sexual transmission of the virus in an online article in the American Journal of Public Health.

They put the bulls-eye of Zika transmission on the Mississippi Delta. However, they say St. Louis City and St. Clair County, Illinois are also among the high risk areas.

“So, we have higher rates of Gonorrhea and Chlamydia in St. Louis City, for example,” Shacham says. “But we also have the risk…an increased probability when mosquitoes are present.”

She says this isn’t to cause panic, but to prompt an increased focus on prevention.

“It could be spray for mosquitoes. Do we increase our language and messaging about using insect repellent throughout the day,” Shacham says.

Shacham suggests enhanced vector control and increased Zika surveillance will be needed in these high-risk areas.

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