Four more cases of homegrown Zika were confirmed in Miami-Dade County, including one in Miami Beach, which is a Zika hot zone, officials say.
In addition, five cases of travel-related Zika occurring in Miami-Dade County were confirmed. One person had been exposed in Miami Beach, and the other four were being investigated to learn where exposure had occurred, the Florida Department of Health says.
Also, two out-of-state residents came down with Zika after being exposed in Miami-Dade County, but no further information was given.
Miami Beach is the only “hot zone” in the U.S. where homegrown Zika is occurring, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned pregnant women to steer clear of Miami-Dade County in general if possible.
Zika causes microcephaly, a birth defect that causes babies to be born with small heads and brain damage, the CDC says.
These new cases bring the total of homegrown Zika cases in Florida to 119. There are 705 travel-related cases in the state, and 15 non-Florida residents have come down with the virus. The origin of one cases is undetermined and the state is monitoring 92 women who are or were pregnant when they were infected.
While there are thousands of travel-related Zika cases in the U.S., the most concern focuses on homegrown Zika, where transmission from local mosquitos is actively underway. According to the CDC, Miami Beach is the only place where this is occurring in the county.
The Zika virus can make anyone sick for up to a week with the following flu-like symptoms:
- Joint pain.
- Red eyes.
There is no vaccine or treatment for the virus, making prevention essential. Health experts recommend taking the following precautions:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants outdoors.
- Eliminate standing water where mosquitoes breed.
- Use repellents to keep mosquitoes away.
- Use air conditioning and window screens if possible.
- Call your health care provider if you are at risk of infection.
Last month, Consumer Reports released new rankings of mosquito repellents that offer the best protection against Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes, the type that carry the Zika virus. They tested products containing deet, plantlike ingredients lemon eucalyptus and picaridin. The most effective products:
- Sawyer Fisherman's Formula Picaridin.
- Natrapel 8 Hour, with 20 percent picaridin.
- Off! Deepwoods VIII, w/25 percent deet.
- Repel Lemon Eucalyptus.
The magazine also recommended skipping products made with natural plant oils, such as California Baby Natural Bug Blend (a blend of citronella, lemongrass oil, cedar oil, and other ingredients) and EcoSmart Organic, (which includes geraniol, rosemary oil, cinnamon oil, and lemongrass oil).
Women who are pregnant or breast feeding can safely use deet, picaridin, lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535, according to the EPA.
Other tips for using insect repellents safely and effectively:
- Apply repellents sparingly, and only to exposed skin or clothing.
- Don’t apply repellents over cuts, wounds, irritated skin, or after shaving.
- When applying to your face, spray first on your hands, then rub in, avoiding your eyes and mouth.
- Don’t let young children apply repellents themselves
- Don’t use near food, and wash hands after application and before eating.
- At the end of the day, wash treated skin with soap and water, and wash treated clothing in a separate wash before wearing again.
The CDC advises people returning from travel to areas where Zika is present should continue to wear mosquito repellant for three weeks and refer to the agency’s published guidelines regarding sexual transmission of the virus.
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