August 29, 2016 · Health Issues, Zika virus · (No comments)

Zika has now made it’s way to Miami Beach, Florida. According to The Huffington Post evidence of local transmission of the virus in Miami confirms the fear that the virus would spread to the US and the mosquito population here.

The virus, which has grabbed headlines over the year as it has spread rapidly in South America, is known to cause an extremely rare birth defect, microcephaly. The defect causes abnormally small heads and development problems in new born infants.

As of now no travel warnings have been issues yet, this due to the fact officials are still trying to decide which area or areas to include in such a warning. However, an announcement is expected to be made Friday morning.

As of now there have been 35 cases of transmission suspected to be local in nature in the state.

The Miami region is one of the worlds premier travel and vacation areas. If people are afraid to travel it could devastate the local economies there. Worse even, perhaps, the people who do indeed travel to infected regions could bring the virus back with them and start the spread of it in new locations. People infected in Miami bitten by mosquitoes back home could start the spread of the virus locally there too. Over 15.5 million people spent at least one night in Miami last year directly spending 24.4 billion dollars according to Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau.

President Barack Obama requested 1.9 billion dollars from Congress back in February. The bill passed in the House of Representatives (although they slashed the amount in half) but ended up dying in a divided Senate. Congress has since adjourned on its summer break meaning no new measures to combat the spread of the virus on a federal level can be implemented until their return.

The Zika virus has health officials and the Centers for Disease Control concerned about a small community just north of Miami. According to CNN, 14 people in the community were infected with the Zika virus after mosquitos bit them. The CDC issued a travel warning for the area, which is the first time in the history of the agency that it issued a warning against traveling to any community in the United States.

The CDC and Florida governor Rick Scott advised pregnant women to avoid the area for fear of catching the virus. Health officials believe that a widespread outbreak of the virus in the area is highly unlikely, but warns people in the area to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Gov. Scott asked that the CDC activate an emergency response team to the area.

The Zika virus is starting to hit epidemic proportions in Central American countries and Puerto Rico. Over 60 countries across the globe are at risk of a widespread Zika outbreak. The Olympic Games are under close scrutiny by health officials because of the virus and the fear that athletes may contract the virus due to a poor economic and social climate in Brazil.

The CDC recommends that pregnant women who live in or travel to the area just north of Miami should receive testing for the Zika virus. The CDC also recommends that everyone in the area should take preventative measures to avoid mosquito bites. The Zika virus is known to cause birth defects in the fetuses of pregnant women.

August 16, 2016 · Health Issues, Zika virus · (No comments)

For the first time in its history, the CDC has issued a travel warning about a city in mainland United States. The warning applies to Wynwood, a neighborhood in northern Miami, Florida, in which multiple people have contracted the Zika virus. The CDC advises pregnant women and their partners to avoid travel to this location. The organization also suggests that healthy women put any pregnancy plans on pause until the outbreak is under control.

This is just the latest blow to Miami tourism since the Zika outbreak began. So far 15 patients have been diagnosed. Experts fear the threat could grow, since the number of carrier mosquitoes has shown no decrease.

Infected Aedes species mosquitoes spread the virus through their bites, which can occur during the day or at night. An infected person can also spread the virus through sexual contact, and pregnant women can spread the virus to their fetus.

Symptoms include fever, joint pain, red eyes, muscle pain, rashes and headaches. Most Zika infections are mild and don’t require treatment. However, for pregnant women, Zika causes a severe fetal brain defect called microcephaly in their child.

The CDC advises Miami residents and travelers to take precautions, such as using insect repellent, wearing protective clothing, using mosquito netting and avoiding swampy areas where mosquitoes thrive.

Residents or travelers who are concerned about the virus hould visit a doctor or other healthcare provider. There are blood and urine tests that can confirm an infection. Treatment includes rest, increased fluid intake to prevent dehydration and the use of painkillers to reduce pain and fever. People who suspect they have Zika should avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and refrain from sexual activities.

August 14, 2016 · Health Issues, Zika virus · (No comments)

Miami residents are on the alert after Florida state authorities revealed a total of 14 cases of Zika, the mosquito-borne virus that is linked to microcephaly and other serious birth defects. Pregnant women, in particular, are taking extra precautions this week, wearing long-sleeved shirts, staying indoors as much as possible and, perhaps most importantly, trying to stay calm.

Florida authorities announced suspected cases of Zika two weeks ago and confirmed them just a week ago. Since then, authorities have pinpointed one square mile of Miami called Wynwood where the outbreak is concentrated. Pregnant women have been warned to stay away from the area, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an unprecedented travel warning, saying that women who have been to Miami recently should not try to get pregnant for two months.

In addition, police are going door-to-door in that neighborhood, trying to warn residents of the dangers of Zika and handing out bug spray to homeless people and other pedestrians. And the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, asked the federal government for help to prevent a bigger epidemic.

Worldwide, Zika has been linked to more than 1,700 cases of microencephaly, a serious birth defect that results in brain malformation. The virus is transmitted via the bite of an infected mosquito, from a pregnant mother to her unborn fetus, through sexual intercourse or blood transfusion.