Tags: Zika Virus | Zika | US | Miami | Beach | Hurricane | Matthew

Miami Beach Logs Two More Homegrown Zika Cases

Miami Beach Logs Two More Homegrown Zika Cases

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By    |   Wednesday, 05 October 2016 04:11 PM

Even as Miami Beach prepares for the arrival of Hurricane Matthew, state health officials are continuing to monitor the outbreak of Zika there.

The tally of homegrown Zika cases in that city continues to inch up, with two more cases confirmed. This brings to 141 the number of people believed to have become infected by local mosquitos, 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.

“If you are pregnant and must travel or if you live or work in the impacted area, protect yourself from mosquito bites by wearing insect repellent, long clothing and limiting your time outdoors,” officials added.

Local officials said Tuesday that the impending hurricane, which is expected to hit the city as a tropical storm, would complicate efforts to rid the city of the virus.

Not only will the city’s spraying operations need to be curtailed, but also the storm is expected to dump large amounts of rain, flooding the city and providing more places to breed.  

Residents and business owners have been told to drain standing water from their properties before and after the hurricane to keep mosquito populations from growing.

Health officials have also been working to prevent the virus from spreading up the eastern seaboard, so they are hoping that that the mosquitos don’t hitch a ride on Matthew’s strong winds.

In addition to the two new homegrown cases reported by Florida officials Wednesday, 721 travel-related Zika infections have been recorded in Florida and 103 involving pregnant women, according to the new report.

In addition, the Florida Health Department said it has conducted testing for the Zika virus for more than 8,723 people statewide.

The grand total of Zika cases in Florida – which includes non-residents and people who contracted the virus at undetermined locations  – stands at 986, officials said.

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 and refer to the agency’s published guidelines regarding sexual transmission of the virus.

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State Officials are continuing to monitor Miami Beach for Zika and have added two more cases to the mounting tally there.
Zika, US, Miami, Beach, Hurricane, Matthew
Wednesday, 05 October 2016 04:11 PM
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