Sperm donated in three Florida counties since June 15 may be infected with the Zika virus, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned Monday.
“When semen is donated it can be stored frozen for periods of time. It does not necessarily inactivate Zika, so it could be stored in tissue banks, used subsequently and people should be made aware,” said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the US Food and Drug Administration. He went on to say having this information can help individuals make informed decisions and they “might want to use these donations from other sources.”
Sources other than the 12 sperm banks in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties of Florida, that is.
The agency had previously designated only Miami-Dade County as an area to take precautions after the first local transmission of the virus in the continental United States was confirmed in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami in July. The area was declared Zika free in December.
However, the CDC is now warning anyone in Palm Beach and Broward counties to also consider themselves at an increased risk for the virus. This applies to anyone who has traveled to or between these three counties since June 15, 2016, a change from previous guidance that designated June 29 as the start of the increased risk period.
It is possible that someone could have Zika without knowing, because an estimated 80% of those infected have no symptoms. When symptoms occur, they can include fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes, and they can last from a few days to about a week.
Pregnant women are at greatest risk because they can unknowingly pass the virus to their fetus, causing devastating consequences including miscarriage and neurological deficits that last a lifetime.
Because the virus can also be sexually transmitted, pregnant women or those trying to become pregnant have been advised to avoid unprotected sex with a partner who has been infected or who has lived in or traveled to an area where the virus is circulating.
The ongoing investigation into reported cases of the virus in Florida has found that residents of Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties travel frequently between the counties and either forget, or fail to, consider that they’ve visited an area of increased risk, thus not realizing they could be infected.
Women who live in these three counties who have become pregnant since June 15 are advised to speak with their physicians about the potential increased risk as are women who want to use a sperm donation from a donor in these counties, advised Dr. Denise Jamieson, incident commander for the CDC Zika emergency response and chief of the women’s health and fertility branch at the CDC’s division of reproductive health.
CDC officials said they are acting only out of an abundance of caution and there have not been any reports of the virus being transmitted through donated sperm.
“Now we understand more than we did months ago is that evidence of the Zika virus is present in semen for up to three months after a man is infected and people may not have accurately recalled potential exposure [to the virus] especially if in a local area,” said Dr. Matthew Kuehnert, who is part of the CDC Zika emergency response team and director of the CDC office of blood, organ and other tissue safety.
Unlike blood donations, which are routinely screened for the virus in the United States, there is no available test to screen semen for Zika. The existing test is still in the research phase and accuracy is being assessed, which is why men in these counties should not donate sperm. Their donated sperm may be infected.
The Florida Department of Health last reported a case of local transmission of the virus on March 2. However, that report included confirmation of two cases from October of last year. A third case was also reported then but this was an individual who donated blood in January and through routine blood screening was found to have previously been infected but no longer had an active case of the virus.
The CDC media statement
This holiday vacation update is from the NBC affiliate in Lexington, Kentucky, LEX 18.
“As mosquito season comes to an end and the holiday and winter travel season begins, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), urges pregnant women, those who might be pregnant and their sex partners to avoid traveling to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission.
“’With the Christmas holiday coming, travel to Zika-affected areas is expected to increase,’ said Dr. Hiram Polk, DPH commissioner. ‘We are urging Kentuckians to remain vigilant as the Zika virus continues to circulate in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America and parts of Miami-Dade County in the state of Florida. If you are unsure about the presence of Zika in the area in which you are traveling, err on the side of caution. Use repellent and wear protective clothing to avoid mosquito bites. Those travelers returning from Zika-affected areas are reminded to practice safe sex to help prevent transmission and to use an EPA-approved insect repellent at all times for outdoor activities.’
“Kentuckians planning international travel are particularly encouraged to consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travelers’ Health Website for country-specific health information for travelers. A weblink about Zika Travel Information can be found here.
“International travelers to at-risk countries who develop fever, rash, joint pain, red inflamed eyes and other acute symptoms within two weeks of return to Kentucky should consult with their medical provider.
“There was no local transmission of Zika virus in Kentucky during the 2016 mosquito season.
“Increasing scientific evidence suggests a link between infection in pregnant women and infants born with birth defects such as microcephaly. Microcephaly is a condition where the head is smaller than normal and is very likely to be associated with significant central nervous system abnormalities and life-long complications.
“The CDC recommends that pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant take the following precautions:
• Pregnant women should not travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is occurring. Pregnant women who must travel to one of these areas must talk to their doctor or other healthcare professional first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.
• Based on reports of possible Zika transmission through sexual contact, CDC recommends pregnant women avoid sexual contact with men who have recently returned from areas with Zika transmission. CDC recommends men who have traveled to a Zika-affected area and developed symptoms consistent with Zika during travel or two weeks after travel to use condoms for six months after symptoms begin or to abstain from sex for 6 months. CDC recommends men who have traveled to a Zika-affected area and did not develop any symptoms to use condoms for at least 8 weeks after departure from Zika-affected areas or abstain from sex for 8 weeks.
“Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent infection and no specific antiviral treatment for Zika infection. Its most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes, although many infected individuals have no symptoms at all.”
Source: LEX 18
“This update from the CDC Arboviral Disease Branch includes provisional data reported to ArboNET for January 01, 2015 – November 16, 2016.
139 – Locally acquired mosquito-borne cases reported
4,115 – Travel-associated cases reported
1 – Laboratory acquired cases reported
Sexually transmitted: 35"
Source: Centers for Disease Control
“The nation’s highest ranking infectious disease expert delivered some sobering news on Zika to a Miami audience on Tuesday, telling them that the mosquito-borne virus is more widespread than Florida health officials have reported and that the rapid spread of pathogens such as Zika represents ‘the new normal’ in an age of global travel and trade, booming cities and climate change.
“’Here’s the plain truth: that Zika and other diseases spread by Aedes aegypti [mosquito species] are really not controllable with current technologies. So we will see this become endemic,’ Tom Frieden, a physician and director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told a group of about 100 people gathered at the InterContinental Miami hotel for The Atlantic magazine’s CityLab conference.
“Frieden’s takeaway advice for public officials tasked with protecting the public from disease outbreaks: ‘Invest in public health,’ he said. ‘It pays off.’
“Unprecedented in its ability to spread by sexual contact as well as mosquito bites, and to cause birth defects — most notably microcephaly in children born to mothers infected while pregnant — Zika took health officials by surprise this year, Frieden said, noting that there’s still a lot that scientists do not know about the virus’s effects.
“’Zika has surprised us,’ he said. ‘It’s been difficult to predict. It’s had characteristics that we have not seen with other diseases before. What we anticipate will happen is that this season will calm down within the continental United States. We hope that Miami-Dade will stop having cases, but we can’t promise that. … We will see parts of the hemisphere where it will be endemic. It will come back every year.’
“And though Florida has reported 1,064 Zika cases, including 190 mosquito-borne infections, Frieden said the real number likely is much higher.
“’A rule of thumb,’ he said, ‘is for every case you diagnose you’ve probably got 10 more.’
“On Tuesday, Florida health officials reported two additional mosquito-borne Zika infections in Miami-Dade, including one in Miami Beach and a second that will require an epidemiological investigation to determine the source of exposure.”
Source: Miami Herald
“There was one live-born infant with Zika virus–related birth defects and 77 new cases of Zika among pregnant women reported during the week ending July 21, 2016, in the United States, but no additional Zika-related pregnancy losses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The new cases bring the totals to 13 infants born with birth defects and 855 pregnant women with any laboratory evidence of Zika virus infection. All of the infants with birth defects so far were born in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, which is where six of the seven Zika-related pregnancy losses occurred. There has been only one pregnancy loss in the U.S. territories, but the territories account for almost half (422) of the 855 pregnant women with Zika infection. Of the 77 new infections in pregnant women for the week, 44 occurred in the territories and 33 were in the states, the CDC reported July 28.
“The figures for states, territories, and the District of Columbia reflect reporting to the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry; data for Puerto Rico are reported to the U.S. Zika Active Pregnancy Surveillance System.
“Zika-related birth defects recorded by the CDC could include microcephaly, calcium deposits in the brain indicating possible brain damage, excess fluid in the brain cavities and surrounding the brain, absent or poorly formed brain structures, abnormal eye development, or other problems resulting from brain damage that affect nerves, muscles, and bones. The pregnancy losses encompass any miscarriage, stillbirth, and termination with evidence of birth defects.”
Source: PM 360
The lack of emergency funding for Zika is already taking a toll on research and vaccines
“It’s been a little over a week since the Senate failed to pass emergency funding for the Zika epidemic, right in the midst of mosquito season. And while Zika hasn’t started spreading locally stateside, emergency responders who are trying to fight it are already feeling an economic pinch.
“’We have an unprecedented health threat, and we don’t have the robust resources that would enable us to respond most effectively,” says Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in an interview with TIME. “Without additional resources, this is like fighting a fight with one hand tied behind our backs.’
“So far, more than 1,000 people in the continental United States have Zika infections from travel, and more than 700 pregnant women in the U.S. and territories have the disease. Utah is investigating the first possible case of person-to-person transmission in the U.S. and Florida is investigating a possible case of local transmission. Without the additional Zika emergency funding, Frieden says the agency is moving money meant for other emergencies to the response.
“’We may have problems in states around the U.S. because money isn’t available to do things like respond to other outbreaks or address the health needs that arise with flooding or hurricanes,” Frieden says. “We’ve had to reduce funding for a range of emergencies to address the Zika emergency. That’s not a sensible way to do it, but it’s the only option we had.’
“With the funding, Frieden says the CDC planned to launch a more robust effort to understand the full range of Zika’s effects on babies, including infants born with healthy head sizes though their mothers were infected. The CDC also planned to be further along in improving how the virus is diagnosed.
“As TIME has previously reported, scientists say the lack of emergency Zika funding is also hurting their research. ‘Without a clear commitment from the federal government, private sector partners working on diagnostics and vaccines will choose not to proceed,’ said Marissa Padilla, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, to TIME. ‘Meanwhile, countless other efforts to combat Zika will be jeopardized. The first human trials in the U.S. of a Zika vaccine have already been delayed.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is collecting semen from hundreds of men in the United States in order to figure out how long the dreaded Zika virus lasts in the bodily fluid.
“The virus can be transmitted sexually, and it’s been known to linger in semen long after a man’s fever, rash and itchy eyes have gone away.
“If a man has the virus in his semen and has sex with a woman who is pregnant or becomes pregnant, the baby could be born with devastating neurological birth defects.
“After about two months of recruiting, some 40 men who’ve had Zika have volunteered to donate their semen. The CDC hopes to bring in about 210 more.
“The men are asked to make about a dozen donations in their homes every other week for six months after their illness, and each time are given a $50 multi-use gift card.
“A courier picks up the donations, which are then delivered to the CDC’s labs in Fort Collins, Colorado.
“’I’m happy to say patients really have been quite receptive about volunteering their specimens,’ said Dr. Paul Mead, the senior epidemiologist at the CDC who is running the study. ‘They seem to understand the importance of the study.’
“There have been 14 cases of sexual transmission of the virus, according to the CDC, although some experts think the actual number is higher.
“The CDC currently recommends that men who’ve had Zika use a condom or abstain from sex for six months after their illness.
“That advice is based on studying the semen of just three men who had Zika, which is why the CDC is doing the larger study.”
For the last few months we’ve been following the newest mosquito-borne disease to hit the United States: chikungunya. Up until last week, all the diagnosed cases in the U.S. had been transmitted elsewhere. Travellers to the Caribbean were bitten by infected mosquitoes but didn’t display symptoms until back in the states. Last week, however, marked the first domestic case of chikungunya.
A Florida resident was recently diagnosed with chikungunya, but unlike other patients he had not recently travelled outside the United States. With the first domestic case, does that mean we are on the verge of an outbreak? The CDC says no.
The Centers for Disease Control is currently examining how the Florida man got the virus and keeping an eye on any other domestic cases. When chikungunya hit the Caribbean it spread very quickly, infecting thousands of locals and tourists alike, but the CDC doesn’t see that to be the case in the U.S. They “believe chikungunya will be have like dengue virus in the U.S., where imported cases have resulted in sporadic local transmission but have no caused widespread outbreaks.” Source.
With the outbreaks of West Nile Virus we’ve seen in recent years, we know how serious mosquito-borne disease can be, and how quickly it can spread. It’s very important to protect yourself from mosquitoes, especially at dawn and dusk when they are known to be most active.
At Mosquito Squad, we enhance our client’s outdoor living experience by protecting them from both the annoyance and dangers of mosquitoes. Our mosquito control services effectively cut down the property’s mosquito population. Our traditional, and most popular, mosquito treatment reduces the number of mosquitoes by 85-90%, while our all-natural treatment repels 80%.
Depending on the service that you chose, our trained technicians visit your property every 2-3 weeks to reapply the mosquito control product to the foliage where mosquitoes are known to feed and harbor. And, for even more control, we can install a permanent mosquito misting system that emits small bursts of mosquito spray when mosquitoes are their most active. If you are seeing more mosquitoes than normal, you will also have a remote to use.
If you have questions regarding mosquito control options, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.
Not even a year ago, we at Mosquito Squad became aware of a mosquito-borne illness that was growing in numbers in the Caribbean called chikungunya. The Centers for Disease Control warned travelers of the illness in December and stated that is was “very likely” to end up in the United States and now a new report from Haiti is illustrating how serious this disease can be.
Haiti reported their first chikungunya cases last week with 14 confirmed cases. Just one week later, health officials have confirmed over 1,500 cases!
Chikungunya is transmitted through the bite of an affected Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same mosquito that transmits dengue fever and yellow fever. The Aedes aegypti is most common in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Chikungunya causes a high fever that will last several days as well as headaches, joint pain and rashes. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for the disease at this time.
Chikungunya is most common in Africa and Asia. Like many other bugs and diseases, it was brought to the Caribbean through travel. Now that mosquitoes are entering their peak breeding months, it is imperative that locals and travelers protect themselves against mosquito bites as the number of cases could easily continue to rise.
We are often asked how a mosquito infects through their bite. Only female mosquitoes bite for blood as it is necessary to produce eggs. When she injects her proboscis into the skin, she releases saliva and anti-coagulants. The viruses or diseases that the mosquito carries are present in the saliva and are transmitted through the bite.
Not all mosquitoes transmit or carry disease, but it is smart to protect yourself from them when you can. At Mosquito Squad, we protect our clients with our mosquito treatments for the yard. For our seasonal clients, we visit the property every 2-3 weeks and treat the foliage and areas of the yard where mosquitoes are known to harbor. That mosquito control spray will eliminate the mosquitoes on contact and provide continuous protection for up to 21 days.
While professional outdoor pest control can reduce your mosquito population by 85-90%, you still need to protect yourself when you leave a treated property. We suggest wearing long, loose fitting clothing or spraying exposed skin with a DEET product.
If you have questions on how to protect yourself from mosquitoes and the diseases they carry, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.
Lyme disease can be dangerous and painful, but it hasn’t been associated with many deaths until recently. Of the course of one year, three people died of Lyme. Does this mean we should be worried about a deadly strand of the tick-borne disease?
In short, no. Evidence from the cases doesn’t show that there is a new strand of the Lyme. If anything, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) officials want us to use this discovery to illustrate the importance of tick awareness.
The first case covered in this new report happened over a year ago in November of 2012. After a Massachusetts man died, his organs were donated for transplant. Upon analysis of heart tissue, doctors found signs of Lyme carditis. Lyme carditis affects the heart and happens in 1% of Lyme patients. When serious, it can modify the opening and closing of heart valves, resulting in irregular heartbeats.
This one case would not have raised eyebrows in the health world if it had been the only case, but in less than a year, two other people have died from Lyme carditis in the Northeast. Health officials are urging doctors to become more familiar with both the symptoms of Lyme and Lyme carditis that include shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and fainting.
Dr. Joseph Forrester, an epidemic intelligence officer for the U.S. Public Heath Service investigated the cases. The CDC sent the reports on the cases out to health care providers to make them more aware. “Additionally, we are working with state and local health departments in high-incidence Lyme disease states to review available surveillance and mortality data to look for trends, or risk groups in people who develop Lyme carditis,” Source.
Despite three fatal cases in a year, health officials don’t see a cause for panic, just vigilance. It’s important to check for ticks after spending any extended time outdoors and take notice of any changes in your health if you have been bit by a tick. If possible, it does help if you can keep the tick a plastic bag after removal.
At Mosquito Squad, we take protecting our clients from ticks very seriously. We utilize a combination of a barrier spray and tick tubes to decrease the tick population on our clients’ properties. Using tick treatments on your yard is a good first step in protecting against tick bites, and thus, Lyme disease.
If you have questions on Mosquito Squad’s tick control services, please contact your local office. We’d be happy to help.
In the meantime, we at Mosquito Squad would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year!
Mosquito-borne diseases are present in any area of the country and world where mosquitoes are active. While the diseases they carry are different depending on the areas of the world, many of them are dangerous and debilitating. Earlier this week, the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) issued a warning against a painful mosquito-borne illness for any U.S. travelers to the Caribbean.
Ten people in the Caribbean have recently been diagnosed with Chikungunya virus. The CDC says it is “very likely” to end up in the United States. As CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden explains, “Microbes know no boundaries, and the appearance of chikungunya virus in the Western hemisphere represents another threat to health security. CDC experts have predicted and prepared for its arrival for several years and there are surveillance systems in place to help us track it.” Source.
The Asian tiger mosquito is a common carrier of Chikungunya. The tiger mosquito is easily recognizable by the black and white stripes on their legs.
Chikungunya symptoms can take days to display after being infected with the disease. Symptoms of the disease are very similar to those of dengue fever including a high fever, rash, headache, nausea and severe joint pain. The name Chikungunya comes from the Mankonde language and means, “that which bends up” because it can be very painful.
Chikungunya was first found in Africa but has been moving into Asia and Europe and now the Caribbean in recent years. So far there have been 109 travelers who have been diagnosed with Chikungunya in the United States and luckily it hasn’t spread since there.
With winter holidays and travel in full swing, the CDC issued a statement of warning: the “CDC estimated that about 9 million U.S. residents travel to the Caribbean each year. Given that volume of travelers, chikungunya could occur more frequently in returning U.S. mainland travelers if the virus expands in the region.” Source.
The CDC stated that it is possible for a single infected person to start an outbreak of the disease. While we aren’t in the height of mosquito season now, it will start again in just a few short months. At Mosquito Squad, we protect our clients from mosquitoes and the dangerous diseases they carry with our mosquito control treatments. By treating your property for mosquitoes, your chances of being infected while spending time outside in your yard is decreased. If you have any questions, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.