NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - Bitter cold temperatures we feel make it difficult to think about spring but the next season is on the minds of city leaders who met Thursday to discuss how to prepare if the mosquito-borne Zika virus comes to New York City.
The Zika virus has been known to cause birth defects when pregnant women become infected.
Right now the mosquito carrying the Zika virus is located in Central and South America and the Caribbean.
Five New York City residents did get infected with Zika while traveling outside the country.
The mosquito that carries the Zika virus is not native to New York. But a cousin of that mosquito is here so city officials met to discuss how to advise pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant about staying healthy.
Health officials say part of the problem is very little is known about the Zika virus except that it can make some people sick with flu-like symptoms and cause abnormalities in children born to mothers infected with it.
New York City will soon be offering blood tests for those concerned they may have been exposed. The city will also be launching a campaign to educate people about using mosquito repellent and getting rid of standing water -- Information they hope to convey before it is springtime again in the city.