Zika virus created consternation early this year as it became clear that infection during pregnancy could lead to birth defects, including microcephaly. Health authorities advised pregnant women not to travel to areas where the virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. The list of countries was long and expanded rapidly to include most Caribbean nations. The CDC has been monitoring Gulf Coast states closely to detect any spread of Zika virus into that region.
The Spread of Zika Virus into Florida:
The CDC announced this week that mosquitoes in Florida now carry Zika virus. The agency has issued an unprecedented travel warning for the US, warning pregnant women and their partners to stay away from the North Miami neighborhood of Wynwood. The Florida Health Department is overseeing mosquito control that now includes aerial spraying of a 10-mile area that includes Wynwood. Anyone in Miami or even elsewhere in Florida should take precautions against mosquito bites by using effective repellents as well as spending as much time as possible in screened areas away from mosquitoes.
The CDC is concerned about the potential spread of Zika virus to other southern states. Blood donors in Georgia and Alabama will soon be tested for the presence of the virus. The Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries Zika is difficult to eradicate. It can be found in many parts of the southern US. Integrated mosquito management is crucial for controlling these insects. You’ll find more maps in this post at vox.com. Stopping the spread of Zika virus in the United States will require an all-out effort.