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June 1, 2018: Zika Cases Rising in Florida

This update from ABC affiliate WZVN-HD in Florida.

“This year there have already been more than 40 travel related Zika cases in Florida – 15 of those were found in Southwest Florida.

“On top of that, local researchers say conditions are right for another outbreak.

“’You don’t have to wait many years in between these outbreaks,’ said biology professor, Scott Michael. ‘Sometimes they [the outbreaks] catch us by surprise.’

“Michael teaches at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) and is also one of the leading researchers in the fight against Zika.

“’Studying viruses is my way of helping,’ Michael said. ‘These things are global as well as local.’

“The work being done in his lab will go beyond Florida – it is going to reach parts of the world that need it.

“Michael said the Zika virus is still a big issue for people in the Caribbean.

“He said it not only takes an economic toll but also an enormous amount of human suffering, especially with children.

“Right now, he and his team of researchers are working with different cells from women, who were pregnant, and caught Zika.

“’That could help to develop a vaccine, that could help develop into medicines, and that could help to understand the epidemiology, which is the study of how these viruses travel and get to new places and spread,’ he said.

“As for another outbreak like the one we saw a couple years ago, Michael said it’s possible.

“’This is not the first time it happened, and it’s probably not the last time. You know, it’s difficult to predict for any one summer what we’re going to see. But, you can bet that these things will be back at some point.’

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