Zika Virus In America: ‘Actively Circulating’ Outbreak In Miami, Florida Prompts CDC To Issue Travel Warning

By Samantha Finch, Parent Herald August 02, 05:40 am

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised pregnant women and their partners to avoid traveling to a small community in Miami, Florida. The CDC said the area is currently experiencing a Zika virus outbreak, with more than ten people affected with the disease at the moment.

The 150-square-meter area, which is located north of downtown Miami, has an "actively circulating" Zika virus outbreak, CNN reported. A total of 14 people have been infected with Zika after getting bitten by the Aedes aegypti mosquito carrying the virus.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said Miami's "aggressive control measures" against Zika virus do not have successful results yet. They think it's because the mosquitoes have grown resistant to pesticides, or the insects could be hiding in breeding places that are hard to locate such as small amounts of standing water.

Frieden said that Zika transmission occurs when travellers head to the U.S. after visiting countries with full-blown virus outbreaks including Brazil. These people might feel fine and are unaware that they're carrying Zika, but the virus could be living in their blood.

When a mosquito bites them, the individuals can transfer Zika to the insects -- jumpstarting a cycle of transmission. The CDC advised people who travelled to countries affected with Zika to use insect repellent for at least three weeks after they return to the U.S.

For those living within the Miami outbreak, the CDC advised pregnant women to get tested for Zika in the first and second trimesters even though they don't feel any symptoms of the virus. They also urged partners who travelled to countries affected by the Zika outbreak to wait for eight weeks before attempting to conceive.

For pregnant women and their partners living in the affected area, the CDC advised them to prevent mosquito bites by applying insect repellent to uncovered skin, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, use air-conditioning and screens on doors and windows, and by removing standing water where mosquitoes can lay eggs. The CDC also advised them to use proper sexual protection for the entire pregnancy or to abstain from sex altogether so the likelihood of acquiring Zika would be lessened.

Miami's Zika outbreak was the virus' first local transmission in the country, The Guardian reported. The affected area has temporarily suspended blood donations until all current samples underwent testing.

As of late, there's no treatment or preventive vaccine for Zika. Other southern coastal U.S. states including Louisiana and Texas are also vulnerable to a Zika virus outbreak especially now that it's the middle of summer.

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