Fears are growing that mosquitoes in the United States may now be infected with the Zika virus. A woman from Miami, Florida, was diagnosed with the Zika virus but had not traveled to any of the Zika-infected areas. Therefore, health officials are now testing mosquitoes in Florida to determine if Zika has moved into the United States.
The Daily Mail reports that Florida health officials have trapped numerous mosquitoes to test them for Zika after a Miami woman was diagnosed with the virus. The woman has not traveled to Zika-infected areas and has not had sex with anyone who has traveled to any of the affected areas. Therefore, it appears that the woman may have contracted the virus in Miami.
— WebMD (@WebMD) July 21, 2016
Health officials are worried that Zika may have spread to the contiguous United States after a case of Zika that does not include travel or sex was identified in Miami. Though 1,300 people have been infected with Zika in the United States, all of those infected have contracted the virus from a mosquito bite obtained while traveling to Central or South America or through sexual contact with someone who was infected in a Zika-infected area.
The Miami woman’s case is the first of which none of the risk factors were present which indicates she may be the first person infected by a mosquito located in the contiguous United States. Health officials have long warned that it would “only be a matter of time” before American mosquitoes became infected with the virus.
Florida Officials Probe Zika Case That May Not Be Travel-Related https://t.co/js2ET2QKZ1
— NPR Health News (@NPRHealth) July 20, 2016
Reports indicate that President Barack Obama has contacted Florida Governor Rick Scott regarding the Miami Zika case, and the CDC is preparing to release $5.6 million in emergency Zika funds to Florida this week. Though the evidence seems to point to an American mosquito as the source of the virus, the CDC and Florida health officials have not confirmed the case and are still investigating the situation.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 21, 2016
For health officials and the CDC to declare that Zika is spreading in the United States by infected American mosquitoes, officials say they would need to see two cases of Zika in people living within a one-mile radius of each other, but not in the same household.
“The plan suggests there should be two or more cases within a one-mile area in people who do not live together, who did not have sex with Zika-infected people and who did not recently travel to countries with Zika outbreaks.”
The CDC could also declare that the virus is spreading in the United States if mosquitoes in the area test positive for the virus. However, it is noted that it may prove difficult to determine “with certainty” that the Zika case was spread by American mosquitoes unless more cases present themselves.
Florida to get extra $5.6 million to fight mosquito-born Zika virus https://t.co/kZBfunO6mw
— (((Linda Sherrin))) (@courtchauncey) July 21, 2016
The Florida health officials say that they are taking proactive measures to stop mosquito-borne illness. Miami-Dade County Solid Waste Management spokesperson Gayle Love says that they are utilizing truck spraying and hand-held spraying in the areas most heavily affected by mosquito populations.
“We’re constantly in the area. We’re doing hand-held spraying, and we’ll do more truck spraying Thursday.”
The CDC notes that Zika has not been confirmed in the United States but has been confirmed in the American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
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