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Homegrown Zika Cases in Florida Climb to 14 As State Asks for Additional Federal Help

| August 1, 2016

mosquito control zika virus

Workers building a mosquito control ditch in Miami-Dade some 60 years ago. All home-grown Zika virus cases have been in Miami-Dade. (Florida Memory)

Gov. Rick Scott said Monday that 10 more people are believed to have contracted the Zika virus through mosquito bites in Miami and that the state is asking for additional help from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The announcement came after Scott and health officials disclosed Friday that the first four locally transmitted Zika cases had been diagnosed in residents of Miami-Dade and Broward counties. About 400 Zika cases have been diagnosed in the state, but until Friday all of the cases were described as travel-related.

A statement released by Scott’s office said the 14 locally transmitted cases are believed to have occurred in a 1-square-mile area north of downtown Miami.

“Today, DOH (the Florida Department of Health) has confirmed that 10 additional people have contracted the Zika virus locally, likely through a mosquito bite,” Scott said in the statement. “DOH has been testing individuals in three locations in Miami-Dade and Broward counties for possible local transmissions through mosquito bites. Based on DOH’s investigations, two locations have been ruled out for possible local transmissions of the Zika virus. DOH believes local transmissions are still only occurring in the same square mile area of Miami.”

Scott also said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a notice advising women who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant to avoid unnecessary travel to the targeted area. The virus is particularly dangerous to pregnant women and can cause severe birth defects.

“While we continue to learn more about this virus each day, we know that it is most harmful to pregnant women and their babies,” Scott said in the statement. “For women who live or work in the impacted area and are either pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, I urge you to contact your OB/GYN for guidance and to receive a Zika prevention kit.”

Scott said he also is asking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to activate an “emergency response team” to help the Department of Health. The federal agency has been heavily involved for months in trying to combat Zika in the United States and other countries.

The statement said six of the 10 newly diagnosed people are “asymptomatic” and were found through a door-to-door survey conducted by the Department of Health. It did not say whether all 10 of the people live in the area. Of the 14 locally transmitted cases, two involve women and 12 involve men.

Public health officials have long feared that Zika, which emerged last year in South America, would be spread by mosquitos this summer in Florida and other states. Scott and state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam on Friday announced a series of steps to try to fight the spread of the disease, including stepped-up efforts to control the mosquito population.

Florida Republican and Democratic leaders have also expressed frustration that Congress has not passed additional funding to help combat Zika. President Barack Obama early this year proposed spending $1.9 billion on Zika, but lawmakers could not agree on a funding package.

In a statement Friday, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., said the announcement of locally transmitted cases was “exactly what the nation’s top disease fighters alerted Congress about for months.”

“It’s critical now that we immediately direct all necessary federal resources to this health crisis to protect the public,” said Buchanan, who supported Obama’s request for funding. ” Millions of Floridians — and Americans at large — are at risk as the hot summer months roll on and mosquitoes continue to spread.”

–Jim Saunders, News Service of Florida

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11 Responses for “Homegrown Zika Cases in Florida Climb to 14 As State Asks for Additional Federal Help”

  1. Donald Trump's Tiny Fingers says:

    It’s a bit of a misnomer to say that there are 14 cases of Zika; there are 14 confirmed ones. 1 in 5 people that get it show symptoms, and the symptoms can vary in severity from mild flu-like to those requiring hospitalization. So 14 reported cases equates to at least 70 true cases, assuming everyone that reported showed symptoms bad enough to trigger a doctor into giving a test. The real numbers are probably much higher.

  2. A Little Common Sense Please says:

    Here is something to think about. Does it make any sense at all the that Zika Virus has been on earth as long as earth has been around and it just now comes to the United States? I have been hearing about this virus for months now and suddenly here it is. I’m sorry, but this can’t be by coincidence. The mode of travel by these mosquitos is the same now as it was 5-10-20 years ago or longer. Did somebody intentionally bring it to our shores? A Flagler county farmer once told me of a conversation he had with a chemical company salesman about a new type of insect that was attacking his crops. The Chemical salesman “jokingly” told the farmer that we just fly over and drop out insects, so you have to buy our chemicals to combat them. “BAD JOKE” but the salesman never could explain how that particular insect arrived in Flagler county. HMMMMM!

  3. Donald Trump's Tiny Fingers says:

    Yeah, actually, it makes a lot of sense that Zika has been here for a long time but is just showing up here in the states. It’s primary method of communication is via mosquito, and since we’re pretty sure it originated in Africa, in order to make it into a community someone infected with Zika would need to go somewhere and get bitten, have that mosquito survive, and then have that mosquito pass it to a human host. Those are low probability events, but Brazil’s population density and lack of infrastructure allowed just such an event to happen. Florida’s state bird is the mosquito and we have lots and lots of travel between here and central america/south america, so it was bound to happen.

    There’s no conspiracy here.

  4. John Boy says:

    Obama asked for $1.6 Billion to fight this, but Congress went on vacation, see you in September. Scott wants money from Obama, but probably failed Civics 101, all spending originates in the US House of Representatives. And people will now be saying they want a in direction, may it’s time to throw all the Tea Baggers and Republicans out of office.

  5. Sherry says:

    Here again our “obstructionists” in Congress are holding up the funding President Obama requested to stop Zika before it becomes a terrible (even more expensive) epidemic!

    Republican Congress, enjoy your 70% disapproval rating! Perhaps they consider this a “states’ rights” issue. . . stupid is as stupid does!

  6. A Little Common Sense Please says:
    I did a little research about Zika Virus at the above link. It is very interesting reading. The virus can be spread through sex as well as by mosquitos and this could help explain the explosive number of cases in the pandemic in South America.
    I believe there is some human to human transmission taking place in Miami for that many cases to pop up that fast. Miami has a good mosquito control department.

  7. Lin says:

    Wrong again
    It was the obstructionist Dems that blocked Zika funding bill

  8. Sherry says:

    NO. . . not wrong again. . . take a look at the Republican poison pill. . . this from the NY Times:

    Republicans were using the must-pass legislation to score political points, jam through unpalatable policy changes and cut money from other programs, including provisions that would hinder access to contraception for women and weaken environmental restrictions on pesticide use.

  9. Sherry says:

    Actually. . . I meant to say NO. . . NOT WRONG. . . and “Obstructionist Republicans in Congress”

    Do any of you ever feel like some one is stalking your posts with a vengeance . . . Really?!!!

  10. Lin says:

    I’m sure the squabbling over birth control which is already provided for spanning decades mind you, is a not great consolation to the people stricken with Zika

    I’d be one who can see Republican faults along with Democrats but talking points do not cure disease. Dems should open their hearts and see beyond their political noses.

  11. Arnoldo Fabrizi says:

    Florida  confirmed  Monday 10 more homegrown cases of Zika in people infected by local mosquitoes, leading federal health officials to advise women who are pregnant to avoid the area just north of downtown Miami where Zika is spreading. CDC officials believe this is the first time that the federal health agency has warned people to avoid a community in the continental U.S., said agency spokesman Tom Skinner.

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