If the Zika virus were to spread through the USA, it could very well start here: a busy border city where thousands of people cross each day between the U.S. and Mexico, where the mosquito that transports the virus is found in abundance, and where poorer neighborhoods could foster its spread.

Zika is already spreading through Mexico, but Texas may have two big advantages over its southern neighbor: the simple window screen and an abundance of air conditioning.

As of Friday, Mexico had tallied 272 cases of Zika, with most of them occurring in the southern states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, according to the office of Mexico’s Health Secretary. Health officials have recorded 31 people in Texas infected with the Zika virus — all contracted outside the USA.

State and local health officials here expect a homegrown outbreak eventually, especially in border cities like Brownsville and the surrounding area of Cameron County. How widespread it will be depends on whether residents heed the advice of the expects and take preventive measures, officials said.

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