AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas health department is recommending Zika virus testing for pregnant women in three more Texas counties near the border with Mexico.

The Texas Department of State Health Services said Thursday that it now recommends testing for those in the West Texas border counties of Kinney, Maverick and Val Verde. The department already recommends the testing in six South Texas counties — Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata.

Zika can cause severe birth defects in some cases when women are infected during pregnancy.

Health officials say there’s no evidence of ongoing Zika transmission in Texas, but that the nine-county area is at high risk of Zika spreading by mosquitoes because of its climate and geography.

Health officials say that reports out of Mexico show local Zika transmission continues there.