Miami reports its first Zika infection of the year


Miami has reported its first case of the Zika virus this year.

The patient sexually contracted Zika from their partner who was bit by an infected mosquito while traveling to several countries, including Cuba where the virus is still prevalent.

The Florida Department of Health reported that there were signs the virus was only transmitted between the partners who live in Miami-Dade County.

Though there is no evidence of the Zika outbreak in Florida, officials are warning residents to take precaution if they or their partners have recently traveled due to last summer’s massive outbreak.

A couple in Miami tested positive for the Zika virus that was sexually transmitted after one of the partners traveled to several countries, including Cuba

A couple in Miami tested positive for the Zika virus that was sexually transmitted after one of the partners traveled to several countries, including Cuba

Though this is the first in Miami, there have been 205 reported cases of Zika this year in Florida.

Last summer’s outbreak caused panic throughout Florida when state health officials reported 1,456 infections.

HOW ZIKA IS TRANSMITTED  

MOSQUITO BITES

Zika is transmitted to people through the bite of infected female mosquitoes, from the Aedes aegypti mosquito and the Aedes albopictus mosquito.  

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are found in all countries in the Americas except Canada and continental Chile. 

SEX

The virus can also be transmitted through sex, from either a male or female partner who has been infected.

BLOOD TRANSFUSION

A few cases of apparent infection via blood transfusion have been reported.

PREGNANCY

A mother can pass the virus to her unborn fetus.

Current research indicates the greatest microcephaly risk is associated with infection during the first trimester of pregnancy, but health officials have warned an impact could be seen in later weeks.

Recent studies have shown evidence of Zika in amniotic fluid, placenta and fetal brain tissue. 

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an unprecedented domestic travel warning for pregnant women to avoid Miami.

Zika can cause severe birth defects in babies whose mothers were infected during pregnancy. Defects include microcephaly – a condition which leads to an abnormally small head.

According to the Pan American Health Organization, nearly 3,000 cases of microcephaly have been associated with mothers who were infected with the Zika virus before giving birth.

But due to a controversial pesticide called Naled, outbreak numbers declined.

Miami-Dade County air-dropped the pesticide in several neighborhoods after the mosquito-borne outbreak in 2016.

The chemical caused a number of environmentalists and doctors to demand the county stop spraying it over humans or properly warn residents so they could take precautions not to inhale the fumes.

Another controversial solution was the use of genetically modified sterile male mosquitoes. When the sterile males mate with the infected females, the eggs cannot develop or hatch, meaning a stop in the spread of Zika.

Roughly 20 million mosquitoes have already been released in Fresno, California, in attempts of debugging the city.

There is also still no vaccine for the virus as production has proved more challenging than some scientists and pharmaceutical companies had anticipated.

In September, the vaccine maker Sanofi Pasteur quietly pulled the plug on its Zika vaccine efforts due to under-funding by the US government as well as evaporating market prospects due to the decrease in outbreaks.  

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez assured the residents in May that 2016’s outbreak will not be relived this year. He said the county has upped the mosquito control budget and is pushing community awareness.

‘If you don’t plan on having a child, it’s still your personal responsibility to make sure you don’t become a transmitter to somebody that does,’ Gimenez told CBS News. ‘That’s what our message is here. All of us have to take care of all of us.’



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