South Florida has been a hotspot for Zika since this deadly virus was first detected in the United States. With aggressive spraying programs and some help from the weather, new cases in Miami-Dade have dropped dramatically since December 2016. However, the disease is still a serious public health concern. Experts say that it’s here to stay and that seasonal outbreaks are expected.
Red and Yellow Zones in Florida
Between September and December 2016, all red zones were lifted from previously active transmission areas. These include Miami’s Wynwood and Little River neighborhoods as well as northern and southern areas of Miami Beach. The governor stated that mosquitoes were no longer transmitting Zika in the state. However, during January 2017, six new travel-related cases were reported. A yellow cautionary zone is still in effect for the entire southern portion of the state. Pregnant women are urged to cancel or to postpone travel to this area.
Locally Transmitted and Travel-related Cases
Travelers arriving from high-risk countries pose the greatest risk to Floridians. Because the disease is transmitted from person to person so easily, travelers can cause outbreaks. More than 1,000 Zika cases have been reported in the state so far. Roughly 20 percent were transmitted locally. Florida has the second highest rate of Zika after New York. In New York, no cases have been attributed to local transmission. Florida has had more than 200 cases caused by localized circulation. The difference is that our climate is much more conducive to the mosquitoes that carry the virus.
Reporting and Diagnosing Zika
During a news conference in October 2016, Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that as a rule of thumb, for each case that’s diagnosed, approximately 10 more go undetected. Although Zika is known for causing severe birth defects, only 20 percent of adults develop the rash, fever, headache and joint pain associated with the disease. Unfortunately, some patients have had to wait more than three months to receive the results of their blood tests. This has led to more transmissions and larger outbreaks. Although new Zika cases in 2017 are still low, health officials say that it’s important for everyone to exercise caution and to have tests after living in or visiting an affected area.
Controlling Mosquitoes That Transmit Zika
If you’re concerned about Zika, mosquito misting system is an effective way to protect your family from blood-borne diseases that are new to our area. For more information about our one-time and ongoing mosquito misting services, call MosquitoNix of South Florida.