Published: Wed, August 03, 2016
Medical | By Garry George

Homegrown Zika raises more questions about the evolving risk

USA health officials warned pregnant women to avoid traveling to a neighborhood in Miami on Monday after Florida said it had 10 more cases of Zika caused by the bite of local mosquitoes, bringing the total to 14.

Even after the warnings and new cases were announced Monday, the tourism bureau stuck to its statement that the affected area remains a relatively tiny portion of the entire county. Since early July, Florida health officials said they have tested more than 200 people in the Miami area for exposure.

The virus produces no to mild symptoms. The virus has been linked to severe birth defects of the brain and can cause lifelong disabilities. Florida has already reported one baby born with the condition after the mother contracted the virus during a trip overseas. This is the first time the CDC has issued a travel advisory for the virus in the United States. He added that this rating was based on the number of confirmed cases and the actions authorities in the state were taking to control the spread of the virus and wipe out mosquitoes.

Of the 14 individuals identified in Florida, two are women and 12 are men. Only one in five people infected with the virus are symptomatic.

But U.S. officials said they don't expect to see a Zika epidemic in the United States similar to those in Latin America.

The infection figure in the state is very small, but the alarm great enough to show that, thousands of miles from central Florida, governments have started to prepare for what they think will be the worst.

In response to the news out of Miami, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday it was sending an eight-person team to assist local officials.

"This community has a long track record of dealing with these mosquitoes for years and years", Talbert said. Domestic travelers were more than half of Miami's 15.5 million visitors in 2015.

"The fact that Zika is spreading locally in this Miami neighborhood means that pregnant women, women trying to conceive, and their sexual partners put themselves and their unborn child at risk of potential Zika infection when visiting this area", the advisory said.

The lack of an agreement in Washington over Zika funding has fueled anger over continued dysfunction in Congress. Florida leaders have so far been unsuccessful at twisting their colleagues' arms to confront the matter.

However, mosquito control in Miami hasn't been working as well as health officials would like.

One of the problems with controlling the spread of the disease is that the Aedes species are "aggressive, day biting mosquitoes that thrive in urban city areas", Dean said. Two CDC team members were already on the ground in Florida, three arrived Monday and three were scheduled to arrive Tuesday, August 2.

He said another possibility is that there are undiscovered breeding sites. "We probably have many more; they're just not diagnosed because most people who are not symptomatic are not going to get a Zika test". "From industrial to residential, from high-end to more economically stressed".

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