Tags: Zika Virus | Zika | US | Florida | microcephaly

Florida's Zika Total Tops 1,000 Cases

Florida's Zika Total Tops 1,000 Cases

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By    |   Wednesday, 12 October 2016 06:50 PM

The total number of people in Florida infected by the Zika virus now tops 1,000, state officials say.

A total of 1,014 have contracted the virus since state health officials began keeping the tally, the officials said Wednesday.

That total includes six new cases of homegrown Zika and five cases of travel-related virus, they say.

The five cases of homegrown virus are linked to Miami-Dade County, and the sixth is associated with Miami Beach, where active local transmission of the virus is taking place.

One each of the travel-related cases occurred in Brevard, Duval, Hillsborough, Orange and Palm Beach counties.

This brings to 153 the number of people believed to have become infected by local
mosquitoes, as opposed to those have acquired the virus by traveling outside the U.S. to places where Zika is more common.

“Florida’s small case cluster is not considered widespread transmission, however, pregnant women are advised to avoid non-essential travel to the impacted area in Miami-Dade County,” state officials said in a statement.

In addition to the two new homegrown cases, 733 travel-related Zika infections have been recorded in Florida and 104 involving pregnant women, according to the new report.

There are thousands of travel-related cases of Zika, but health officials are most concerned about homegrown, or locally transmitted disease, which they fear could spread to elsewhere in the U.S.

Officials are monitoring women who become infected while pregnant because the virus causes microcephaly, a particularly devastating congenital birth defect that causes brain damage to the fetus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says.

In addition, the Florida Health Department said it has conducted testing for the Zika virus for more than 8,975 people statewide.

The Zika virus can make anyone sick for up to a week with the following flu-like symptoms:

  • Fever.
  • Rash.
  • 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:

  1. Apply repellents sparingly, and only to exposed skin or clothing.
  2. Don’t apply repellents over cuts, wounds, irritated skin, or after shaving.
  3. When applying to your face, spray first on your hands, then rub in, avoiding your eyes and mouth.
  4. Don’t let young children apply repellents themselves
  5. Don’t use near food, and wash hands after application and before eating.
  6. 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.

As ZIka can be sexually transmitted, the agency has published guidelines regarding precautions to take on its website. 


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The number of people in Florida infected with the Zika virus now tops 1,000 since the tally began, state officials say.
Zika, US, Florida, microcephaly
Wednesday, 12 October 2016 06:50 PM
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