Zika Cases In Florida To Increase In Warm Winter; Mississippi Health Department Confirms New Patients Acquire Virus This Year

By Claire Parker, Parent Herald February 08, 04:00 am
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Hurricane Harvey floodwaters cultivate diseases
Genetically modified mosquitoes are being released in an attempt to combat the spread of Zika. In United States, the not-so-cold winter is a concern as the mosquitoes will continue to be present especially in Florida.
(Photo : Victor Moriyama/Getty Images)

Days after it was reported a possible new vaccine would be the answer to Zika virus, new reports surfaced saying the warmer-than-average winter in Florida will increase the possibility that more people will be catching the virus. The Mississippi Health Department also recently confirmed new patients with Zika virus were recorded for the year of 2017.

Mosquito control workers believe Zika will still be a threat in Florida because the weather has not gotten cold enough to kill the main sources of the virus. Orange County Mosquito Control said they received 200 calls in January this year asking for places to be sprayed and mosquito traps to be set up. This is more than 100 percent higher than the number recorded in January of last year, WFTV 9 reported.

The publication added residents in Florida are very concerned with the mosquitoes being around despite the weather. One expectant mother said she is scared because it might have an effect on her baby. One of the most common effects of Zika virus is microcephaly in infants.

Florida is the hotbed of the virus. Last week, Governor Rick Scott announced $1.3 million will be reserved for the budget to develop a Zika vaccine. It will be given to the University of Central Florida.

As for the number of patients this year regarding being infected with Zika virus, The Clarion-Ledger reported two travel-related cases were recorded. They are from Warren County and they traveled to an area north of Venezuela. Last year, Mississippi recorded 23 travel-related cases.

State epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said it is important to remember that there are many mosquito-borne diseases so taking precautions would be necessary to avoid mosquito exposure. Zika virus' symptoms are joint pain, fever, rashes, and conjunctivitis.

Most of the outbreaks are in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Other countries affected are Africa and Southeast Asia even before the outbreak. Aside for mosquito bites, Zika virus could be submitted through sexual intercourse.

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