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October 26, 2016: CDC's New Miami Zika 'Red Zone' Means Stay Out for Pregnant Women

“Federal health officials have made a new color-coded map for Miami and say pregnant women should stay out of the ‘red zone’ — where Zika virus is actively infecting new people daily.

“And they say pregnant women should consider postposing all travel to Miami-Dade county for the time being, designating the entire county a ‘yellow zone.’

“’Pregnant women should specifically avoid travel to red areas because the intensity of Zika virus transmission confirmed in these areas is a significant risk to pregnant women,’ the CDC said in a statement.

“Last week, Florida health officials declared a new Zika zone — a one square mile area where the Zika virus is actively infecting people — in Miami. It’s the third zone of active transmission, although home-grown cases have been found in several parts of the state.


“Florida remains the only U.S. state with verified local transmission of the virus.

“Florida has 174 locally transmitted cases, including 19 in out-of-state visitors. The state has 1,044 total cases of Zika, most related to travel. And 110 of those infected are pregnant women.

“’Currently, a 4.5-square-mile area of Miami Beach and one-square-mile area in Little River located in Miami-Dade County are red areas. The rest of Miami-Dade County is a yellow area,” the CDC said.

“’Given the limited available information about how long Zika virus can stay in body fluids and the chances of harm to a pregnancy when a woman is infected with Zika virus around the time of conception, some couples in which one or both partners have had a possible Zika virus exposure may choose to wait longer or shorter than the recommended period to conceive, depending on individual circumstances like age, fertility, and the details of possible exposure, and their risk tolerance, the CDC said.

Source: NBC News

October 25, 2016: Zika Virus Detected in Donated Blood

“U.S. Health officials have confirmed a few units of donated blood in Florida have tested positive for the Zika virus.

“The FDA would not say exactly how many units tested positive, or when and specifically where in Florida those donations were collected. We do know that the blood did not make it’s way into the donation supply.

“This however is the first report of the Zika virus being found in blood donations.

“Back in July, FDA officials banned blood donations in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties until testing could begin.

“In the meantime, the government now recommends all pregnant women who recently spent anytime near Miami-Dade County get tested for the virus. That includes women who lived in or visited the area since August 1.

“Health officials are pushing for the testing even if you do not have any symptoms.”

Source: CBS 12

October 23, 2016: Zika Mosquito Eggs Found Near Folkestone in the UK

The eggs of a mosquito capable of transmitting tropical diseases, including the Zika virus, have been found for the first time in the UK.

“People in Stanford near Folkestone have been sent letters telling them Asian tiger mosquito eggs had been discovered nearby.

“Public Health England said no further evidence of the insect had been detected.

“It said there was ‘currently no risk to public health in the UK.’

“Jolyon Medlock, head of medical entomology at Public Health England (PHE), said: ‘We regularly monitor mosquito species and look for any which are new to the UK. Enhanced monitoring of the area was implemented and no further evidence of this mosquito has so far been found. As a precaution we advised the local authority to use insecticide as a means of control.’

PHE confirmed the spraying of insecticide had been fully completed at the site.

“The Zika infection has been linked to thousands of babies being born with underdeveloped brains.

Public Health England said it would continue to monitor the situation closely.

“Two years ago Public Health England set up traps at motorway service stations to monitor this species of mosquito over fears the insects could enter the UK on lorries from Europe. None was found.

Source: BBC News

October 22, 2016: New Pool of Zika-Positive Mosquitoes Trapped in Miami Beach

“Officials say a new pool of mosquitoes taken from Miami Beach has tested positive for Zika.

“A Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control news release says officials learned about the new pool Monday. The insects had been collected from a trap October 5, 2016

“The new pool is in the previously designated Zika transmission zone.

“A large portion of Miami Beach remains an active Zika infection zone. Officials announced last week that several people had been infected with Zika in a 1-square-mile area of Miami just north of the Little Haiti neighborhood.

“Last month, another transmission zone in Miami’s Wynwood district had been cleared.

“As of Tuesday, October 18, Zika infections had been reported in 1,040 people in Florida. Most caught the virus while traveling outside the U.S., but 163 cases aren’t travel related.”

October 22, 2016: Will Winter Kill Zika?

Colder weather kills mosquitoes, but it doesn’t mean the virus is no longer a threat.

“Okay, good news first: Mosquito season in the United States is basically over—even in warmer regions, like Florida and areas along the Gulf Coast. ‘The risk of mosquito transmission of viruses goes way down by the end of October,’ says Peter Hotez, a pediatrician and the dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College.

“By early November, he told me, West Nile Virus and dengue fever pretty much ‘disappear’ for the winter. Does this mean everyone can stop worrying about the Zika virus, too?

“Well, here’s where the bad news comes in.

“Zika isn’t a threat that’s going away anytime soon, despite the fact that in most areas of the U.S., cold weather brings the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses like Zika down to nearly zero. (In the Southernmost regions of Florida and Texas, the risk of such viruses declines in the winter, but doesn’t go away entirely.) The thing is, scientists still don’t understand Zika well enough yet to predict with certainty what’s going to happen in the months to come. It still seems like the outlook for Zika becomes more alarming with each new discovery. As my colleague Julie Beck wrote in September, we’ve learned a lot about the virus this year:

• Zika was determined to definitively cause the birth defect microcephaly and the neurological disorder Guillain-Barré. Scientists learned the mosquito-borne virus can also be spread sexually… by women as well as men, and that it can survive in semen for weeks or possibly months.

• There’s more. Scientists have found evidence that Zika can cause serious damage to adult brains. Zika seems to remain potentially deadly to a fetus even late in a woman’s pregnancy. The virus itself appears to have mutated to become more dangerous to humans. In at least one rare case, researchers found Zika can be transmitted by casual physical touch.

“Plus, one recent study found that Zika-carrying mosquitoes can transmit the virus to their offspring—meaning Zika could last through the winter in a well-protected mosquito egg, even if the original carrier mosquito died. The findings from that research, published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in August, also have warm-weather implications. ‘It makes control harder,’ said Robert Tesh, a co-author of the study, in a statement when it was published. ‘Spraying affects adults, but it does not usually kill the immature forms—the eggs and larvae. Spraying will reduce transmission, but it may not eliminate the virus.’

“This kind of transmission—Zika passed from mama mosquito to baby mosquito—appears to be relatively rare. One in 290 mosquito offspring got infected in that study. But even that relatively low rate of transmission can be significant, considering how many mosquito eggs are out there. A female Aedes aegypti mosquito easily lays about 1,000 eggs in her short lifetime, and those eggs are startlingly durable. They’re able to survive anywhere there’s a bit of moisture and enough warmth. (Even when it’s cooler out, eggs laid on dry surfaces can survive for more than a year, and won’t hatch until they get wet.) ‘We don’t know for sure, but I believe that the risk of Zika will resume next summer,’ Hotez told me.”

Source: The Atlantic

October 21, 2016: Zika Infection in Late Pregnancy Can Still Affect Fetal Brain

“The Zika virus may harm an infant’s brain even if the mother is infected just before giving birth, according to a study published online Sept. 6 in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

“The new study included 55 Brazilian women infected by Zika during pregnancy and their infants. Medical imaging revealed that 4 infants whose mothers were infected with Zika between 2 weeks and 1 week before birth had central nervous system lesions characteristic of viral infections.

“‘These infants were born with normal length and weight, and without microcephaly or any other symptoms of the disease. The lesions would have gone unnoticed by health workers if the mothers hadn’t been part of a study group,” lead researcher Mauricio Lacerda Nogueira, MD, PhD, a professor at the Sao Jose do Rio Preto Medical School (FAMERP), in Sao Paulo State, and a member of the state’s Zika Virus Research Network, said in a FAMERP news release. "We mean to keep monitoring the development of these babies for several years in order to detect any problems.’

“Another study by FAMERP researchers and led by Nogueira found that Zika infection can be spread through organ transplants. They identified 2 kidney transplant patients and 2 liver transplant patients who were infected with Zika that was present in their new organs. The study was published online Oct. 11 in the American Journal of Transplantation. All 4 patients had to be hospitalized but survived. ‘These transplant recipients didn’t have the typical symptoms of Zika, such as exanthema, itching, and conjunctivitis,’ Nogueira said.”

Source: Neurology Advisor

October 21, 2016: Bats Proposed as Latest Weapon to Fight Zika Virus in Miami

“One Miami city official has an unusual proposal to combat the spread of the Zika virus. City Commissioner Kristin Rosen Gonzalez has proposed using bats, which eat mosquitoes, including the species known to spread the virus.

“’Some people are laughing and they are not taking it seriously. But bats, depending on the species, eat up to 3,000 mosquitoes in one day, and they avoid humans,’ Gonzalez told ABC News today. She has sponsored a resolution that proposes placing bat houses in the city to curb the mosquito population.

“The first outbreak of locally transmitted Zika virus was reported in Miami in July. In the months since, city officials have continued to battle the ongoing outbreak, which has infected dozens in the Miami-area. Larvacide, insecticide and door-to-door inspections have all been used to try and reduce the population of the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads the Zika virus.

“The resolution seeks to authorize the city manager to ‘research a potential pilot program for the placement of bat houses and habitats in the city to control the city’s mosquito population due to the continued presence of mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus. The measure was discussed at the commissioners meeting on October 19, 2016.

“’It was a goodwill gesture to the environmentalists, who were really upset about us spraying all the neurotoxins,’ Gonzalez said of her resolution, but added that she isn’t sure if it will be adopted because “it makes people nervous.”

“The Miami City Commission reviewed the resolution today and passed it to Miami-Dade County, which holds the authority to either adopt or reject the resolution.

“The measure of floated as an alternative to spraying chemicals, Gonzalez said, adding: ‘This was really the one environmental solution.’

“The American Mosquito Control Association notes on its website that bats have historically not been an effective method of curbing mosquito populations, and that mosquitoes comprise less than 1 percent of gut contents of wild-caught bats, saying that bats feed on “whatever food source presents itself.”

“‘There is no question that bats eat mosquitoes, but to utilize them as the sole measure of control would be folly indeed,’ the AMCA states, ‘particularly considering the capacity of both mosquitoes and bats to transmit diseases.’”

Source: ABC News

October 20, 2016: Locally-Acquired Zika Reported In Sonora, Mexico

Last year, the Centers for Disease Control added Mexico to its list of countries that have active Zika virus transmission. Most of the cases were in southern Mexico, but as of last month that changed.

The Arizona Department of Health learned there were a handful of locally-acquired Zika cases in the Mexican state of Sonora, which is on the other side of the Arizona border.

“There were some newspaper articles that came out about September 22 or so and we used that information to notify healthcare providers in the state that they should be aware of this if they’re evaluating patients who have frequent travel across the border to Mexico that maybe they should be suspecting Zika or consider testing,” said Jessica Rigler is with DHS.

Rigler said the outbreak in Sonora is fizzling out. She said there are now 42 confirmed cases of travel-related Zika in Arizona.

Source: KJZZ News

October 19, 2016: 23 Infants in US Born with Zika-Related Birth Defects

“As of October 6, 2016, 23 infants in the U.S. have been born with birth defects related to the Zika virus, and five pregnancies with birth defects have been lost to miscarriage, stillbirth or termination, according to the CDC.

“More babies with Zika-related birth defects, like microcephaly or congenital Zika syndrome, could be on the way in the U.S., because 878 pregnant women have lab evidence of possible Zika virus infection, the CDC reports.

“In total, 3,936 people in the U.S. have a Zika virus infection as of Oct. 12. Of those, 128 were acquired from mosquitoes in Florida, according to the CDC, but the Florida Department of Health reports 155 locally acquired cases in the states as of Thursday.

“In the U.S. territories, 25,955 people have a Zika virus infection.”

Source: Becker’s Hospital Review

October 18, 2016: Florida IDs New Miami Neighborhood as Zika Zone

“Health officials have identified a new Zika zone in Miami – a setback less than a month after declaring the nearby Wynwood neighborhood cleared of the virus following aggressive mosquito spraying.

“Five people have been infected with Zika in a 1-square-mile area of the city just north of the Little Haiti neighborhood and about 3 miles north of Wynwood, according to a statement released Thursday by Gov. Rick Scott’s office.

“It is the third Miami-area neighborhood identified where mosquitoes have transmitted the virus to people, after Wynwood and a touristy section of Miami Beach, which is still considered an active transmission zone. Wynwood was declared free of the virus after 45 days went by without any new infections.

“These are the first such areas of transmission confirmed in the continental U.S., following major outbreaks of the disease across Latin America. Zika symptoms are so mild that most people who get it don’t feel sick, but the disease can cause severe brain-related birth defects if a pregnant woman is infected.

“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that pregnant women should avoid travel to the new outbreak area, and they should consider postponing non-essential travel to the rest of Miami Dade, according to CDC spokesman Tom Skinner.

“’We’re not yet at the end of mosquito season, so we might continue to see local transmission going on for a little while yet,’ Skinner said.

“Four cases from the new zone first reported symptoms in September, and the fifth began suffering symptoms earlier this month, Florida Department of Health spokeswoman Mara Gambineri said in an email.

“The patients in the new zone include two women and three men, according to the statement from Scott’s office. Three live in the area while the other two either visited or worked there.

“Zika infections have been reported in over 1,020 people in Florida, the vast majority of them related to travel to affected areas outside the country. Miami-Dade County has the largest share of the state’s burden, with more travel-related Zika infections than any other Florida county.

“Health officials have so far traced 105 cases to three Miami-area infection zones.

“Health officials also were investigating a Zika infection not related to travel that was reported Thursday in a Broward County resident. Officials there said aerial pesticide spraying targeting mosquito larvae would resume early Friday in the Fort Lauderdale area.

Source: CBS News

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