Exciting Information One Should Know About Zika
BY DEVIN HEFLIN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
As summer approaches, the dry season will heighten in Florida, and Florida’s Governor hopes to heighten awareness pertaining to prevention and education on Zika.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. It can be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her fetus, causing certain birth defects.
There’s no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
As of this year, the state has reported fifty travel related Zika cases, in comparison to the two hundred and eighty-four, some municipal and other travel related infections reported in 2016.
To combat the virus, the sunshine state’s CEO joined Health Department heads in Orlando last Tuesday as part of the state ongoing Zika preparations. Similar roundtables have been held in Miami, Jacksonville and Panama City.
“We all have to be part of this,” Scott said. “No standing water. Wear bug repellant. Wear protective clothing.”
Florida, which put up $61 million in responding to the emergency in 2016, reported 284 locally transmitted cases of the virus last year, with another 1,099 cases classified as "travel related," according to Department of Health numbers.
Miami-Dade County was the focus of much of the state's efforts last year to combat Zika, which is particularly dangerous to pregnant women because it can cause neurological defects in developing fetuses.
Four sections of Miami-Dade —- Wynwood, Little River and two areas of Miami Beach —- were identified last year as Zika zones due to locally spread Zika. The designations by the Centers for Disease Control were all lifted before the year ended.
The South Florida County again tops the list with 19 cases this year, followed by 12 in Broward County and three each in Hillsborough, Palm Beach and Orange counties. As of now, Puerto Rico has contained their Zika outbreak.
The first place in the continental United States where people were infected with the Zika virus through the bite of a local mosquito was in Wynwood, just north of downtown Miami. The Florida Department of Health confirmed the two local cases July 29, 2016. Florida’s first CDC-confirmed travel-related cases were in Miami-Dade and Hillsborough counties six months earlier.
“I urge all Floridians to remember to eliminate any standing water around your homes, businesses and communities, and to wear bug spray to prevent mosquito bites. It is also important to protect yourself if you travel outside of Florida to an area with Zika virus. Last year, our aggressive actions helped lift the previous Zika zones in Wynwood, Little River and Miami Beach. This year, we stand ready to once again do all we can to protect Florida’s families, visitors and communities.” Scott said.
Zika virus was first discovered in 1947 and is named after the Zika Forest in Uganda. In 1952, the first human cases of Zika were detected and since then, outbreaks of Zika have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands.
The strain of Zika, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can remain in male semen for up to ninety days.
Testing and Diagnosis
•Pregnant women who lived in or traveled to Miami-Dade County between August 1, 2016, and 8 weeks after June 2, 2017, and who conceived up to 8 weeks after June 2, 2017, should be tested for Zika virus.
•Pregnant women who have had sex without a condom with a partner who lived in or traveled to Miami-Dade County between August 1, 2016, and June 2, 2017, should be tested for Zika virus. In addition, healthcare providers can consider testing pregnant women who have had sex without a condom with a partner who lived in or traveled to this area up to 6 months after the date the yellow zone was removed.
•Pregnant women who have had sex without a condom with a partner who has been diagnosed with Zika virus disease, or with a partner who has traveled to any area with risk of Zika and a CDC travel notice should be tested for Zika virus.
•Pregnant women who lived in, traveled to, or had sex without a condom with someone who lived in or traveled to Miami-Dade County and who have prenatal findings suggestive of congenital Zika syndrome should be tested.
•Newborns who have birth defects related to congenital Zika infection and whose mothers have lived in, traveled to, or had sex without a condom with someone who lived in or traveled to Miami-Dade County should be tested.
Zika can also produce microcephaly in pregnant women.
Microcephaly is a condition where a baby’s head is much smaller than expected. During pregnancy, a baby’s head grows because the baby’s brain grows. Microcephaly can occur because a baby’s brain has not developed properly during pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth, which results in a smaller head size. Microcephaly can be an isolated condition, meaning that it can occur with no other major birth defects, or it can occur in combination with other major birth defects.
A recent discovery has been that the guppy eats mosquito larvae and in doing so, has slowed the spread of Zika, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Outbreaks have probably occurred in many locations. Before 2007, at least 14 cases of Zika had been documented, although other cases were likely to have occurred and were not reported. Because the symptoms of Zika are similar to those of many other diseases, many cases may not have been recognized.