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Five More Homegrown Zika Cases in Florida

Five More Homegrown Zika Cases in Florida

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By    |   Monday, 10 October 2016 05:57 PM

Homegrown Zika in Florida remains a problem, with an additional five cases added to the state’s tally on Monday.

Two more homegrown Zika cases were reported in Miami Beach, and the other three are being investigated to find out where in Florida they occurred, Florida Department of Health officials say.

In addition, an out-of-state resident who was exposed in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami has contracted homegrown Zika. However, that person was infected in July, when the virus was actively being transmitted there.

Wynwood was declared clear of local transmission in September, so that case has no bearing on the neighborhoods current homegrown Zika-free status, officials say.

While there had been speculation that impending Hurricane Matthew might sweep away the mosquitoes that spread the virus, the storm did not heavily impact Miami Beach, which is the only “hot zone” in the country where homegrown Zika is spreading.

Since Zika takes several weeks to confirm, it likely won’t be known for a while if the hurricane had any general effect on the virus in Florida.

The five cases of homegrown Zika on Monday brought the state’s tally to 146. The number of travel-related cases stands at 712, as no new ones were reported. The state is monitoring a total of 103 women who have become infected while pregnant.

Pregnant women are of special concern because Zika increases the risk of microcephaly, a congenital defect that causes severe brain damage, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says.

Although here are a few thousand cases of Zika in the U.S., the CDC is especially concerned about homegrown Zika and recommends that pregnant women avoid “non-essential travel” in Miami-Dade County.

The total of Zika cases in Florida – which includes non-residents and people who contracted the virus at undetermined locations – stands at 993, officials say.

In addition, the Florida Health Department said it has conducted testing for the Zika virus for more than 8,863 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.

The Zika virus can be sexually transmitted so the CDC suggests that people refer to its published guidelines regarding the precautions to take.

 

 

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The number of cases of Zika in Florida continues to grow as the state logs five more cases of homegrown virus.
Zika, US, homegrown, Florida, Miami, Beach
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2016-57-10
Monday, 10 October 2016 05:57 PM
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