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August 10, 2016: Zika Holds Wynwood Captive -- 21 Cases in Florida

“Sherrie Varpula-Walter has spent most of the last week holed up in her apartment.

“She is three months into her second pregnancy and doing everything she can to avoid being bitten by a mosquito infected with the Zika virus.

“Her husband, Matt Walter, has taken charge of walking their two dogs. If she must run an errand, she sprays herself with insect repellent and puts on socks, jeans and a long-sleeved shirt — even though it’s 90 degrees outside.

“In Miami, where health authorities have identified at least 21 cases of locally transmitted Zika, these are anxious times for expectant mothers and women hoping to become pregnant. The virus can inflict devastating damage to the brain of an infected woman’s fetus.

“’You are in the worst possible situation now, and there is not much you can do about it,’ said Varpula-Walter, a speech pathologist. ‘It’s just a waiting game.’

“The species that spreads Zika, Aedes aegypti, doesn’t travel more than 150 yards in its lifetime, and outbreaks of other diseases carried by the mosquito have been highly localized in the U.S.

“That may be partly because Aedes aegypti lays its eggs in small pools of water — as little as a teaspoon full — that can be hard to spot in a complex urban environment such as Wynwood.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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