Published: Thu, August 18, 2016
Science | By Hubert Green

More local Zika cases in Florida as Puerto Rico numbers soar

According to the Monroe County Health Department, mosquitos in MI are not known carriers of the Zika virus, adding they do not expect the virus to spread.

The U.S. government on Friday declared a public health emergency in Puerto Rico as a result of a Zika epidemic.

Zika has been tied to a severe birth defect known as microcephaly, in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and under-developed brains.

Thomas Frieden, director the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has said that Zika is on track to infect up to 10,000 pregnant women by the end of the year, potentially harming hundreds of babies.

Puerto Rico Health Secretary Ana Rius also announced that 90 people have been hospitalized due to Zika infections, with 30 of those infected being diagnosed with a temporary paralysis condition known as Guillain-Barre. To plan for the domestic assistance that states may need, ASPR also is using Esri software to monitor the spread of the Zika virus across the US and in 34 other countries where infections have been found.

Dr. Knight said the first individual confirmed with an imported case of the disease was pregnant, but was advanced in her pregnancy and therefore the potential for a birth with microcephaly was not expected. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.

Three more people in Florida have tested positive for Zika caused by local mosquitoes, including another person who does not live in the one-square-mile (2.6-square-km) area believed to be the hub of local transmission, state officials said on Friday.

They gather in groups of about 40 to discuss issues related to the Zika virus.

According to the CDC, doctors have diagnosed Zika in 1,825 people in the continental USA, including 479 pregnant women.

The more than 1,800 Zika infections so far reported in the United States mainly have been linked to travel to countries with Zika outbreaks in Latin America or the Caribbean. Now, U.S. government intensifies efforts to prevent the spreading of disease.

It's important to note, Packard said, that although the Aedes aegypti do exist in the local environment, officials have not identified any Zika-related traces yet.

Zika virus is usually spread by carrier mosquitos, and in some cases can be spread through sexual contact. Moreover, the British health officials advised pregnant women and women planning pregnancies to avoid traveling to Florida.

Congressional Republicans resisted emergency funding, seeking instead to find cuts to pay for the $1.1 billion approved.

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