MEDICAL DISEASES: ZIKA VIRUS :
Floridas Zika Outbreak Was Expected
Floridas Zika Outbreak Was Expected
And it is being quickly contained. This isnt the case in Puerto Ricowhy?
By Marc Siegel
A shorter URL for the above link:
Women of childbearing years are suddenly asking me if they should travel to Florida. I tell them that, for the vast majority of Florida, the answer is yes.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced 14 cases of the Zika virus in one small section of MiamiDade County. Understandably, people are frightened: The disease theyve been hearing about for months is finally here in their own country. The CDC has responded on Monday with a wise travel advisoryto restrict travel to this approximately square-mile region where Zika was discovered in local mosquitoes. Will that be enough? For now, since the virus has only appeared in the area, it seems so: The Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry the disease only travel a few hundred feet in their lifetimes, which is just one to two weeks long. Coupled with excellent mosquito-control measures underway (draining swampy areas, spraying to kill larvae and adults), there is no reason to believe this outbreak will spread beyond those few short blocks.
The place that should be bringing up far more alarm, and far more questions about whether individuals should visit, isnt Floridaits Puerto Rico. According to the CDC, the U.S. territories, including Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have reported close to 5,000 cases of Zika from January 2015 through the end of this July, with the vast majority occurring in Puerto Rico. CDC Director Tom Frieden feels the numbers are actually much higher: He thinks at least 50 pregnant women are being infected by the Zika virus in Puerto Rico every day. A CDC study looking at the latest outbreak in Brazil, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in May, revealed the risk of microcephaly from Zika in the first trimester to be between 1 percent and 13 percent. Previous research found the overall risk of birth defects from Zika in Brazil to be as high as 30 percent. If those rates hold true in Puerto Rico, that could be devastating.
A story in the New York Times on Sunday revealed the troubling situation in Puerto Rico, where the virus has spread much more rapidly thanks to significant problems with standing water and mistrust of public health warnings about the disease. News media in Puerto Rico still calls the connection between microcephaly and Zika a theory even though it was proven and accepted by the World Health Organization and CDC in April. The country is suspicious of pesticides intended to limit the mosquitos, in part due to their experience as a testing ground for Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
The situation in Puerto Rico, where cases keep coming in yet awareness stays low, is harder to resolve. People in Florida do not need to be concerned at this point, but people in Puerto Rico should be. And yet, by some reports: they arent: The CDC is sending its Emergency Response Team to Florida. It is thanks to the situation in Florida that the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use of a new diagnostic test for Zika.
The complete article may be read at the URL above.
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