Zika expert: "DEET should be Miami's new perfume"
August 2, 2016
MIAMI (CBS NEWS) -- On Tuesday, health officials reported a 15th case of Zika virus in south Florida, apparently transmitted by mosquitoes. But this one was outside the so-called "Zika zone" in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood.
Zika can cause severe birth defects, and a major effort is underway to protect women who are expecting.
"Women are scared to death right now," said 36-year-old Jessica Ardente.
Ardente is an expectant mother and a nurse practitioner.
"That makes it worse because you know what's out there in the news, but you also know the medical ramifications that can happen," she said.
Not to mention, she lives in the Zika zone.
"Right smack dab in the middle of it," she said.
Following CDC recommendations, she gave blood and urine samples on Monday to test for the presence of Zika virus. Ardente is due in January.
"At this point, we are not telling women that there is a safe trimester," said Dr. Christine Curry of the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine, and Ardente's OBGYN.
Dr. Curry is monitoring 12 pregnant women believed to have contracted Zika while traveling.
"A year ago there wasn't a conversation about it, and now it's something that's affecting and infecting most of our hemisphere," she said. "And so it's really changing the reproductive narrative for women all over."
Dr. Matthew DeGennaro is a mosquito geneticist, who believes Zika will spread to other pockets of Miami Dade county.
What are the symptoms of Zika virus?
"The way that will happen is not by the spread of mosquitoes themselves, but by the movement of infected people," he said.
The CDC is encouraging everyone living in areas where there are mosquitoes that can carry Zika to protect themselves by covering up and using repellent with DEET.
"DEET should be Miami's new perfume," said Dr. DeGennaro.
Tuesday, in the Zika zone, Miami police handed out free repellent to homeless people.
Ardente is spending less time outdoors, awaiting the outcome of her Zika test.
How long will it take to get the results? Seven to ten days, Ardente said.
"I would love to know to tomorrow," she said, "but it's not going to happen."
Inside the Zika zone, business owners are becoming concerned about what the spread of the virus is going to do to their bottom line. Wednesday morning, for the first time this year, crews will start aerial spraying of repellent in a 10 square mile area around the Zika zone.
August 1, 2016
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- More victims infected with Zika virus are expected in the Miami region.
There are currently 388 cases of Zika here in Florida, and now Congress is on recess without having approved funds to fight the virus.
Governor Rick Scott has said he's disappointed Congress didn't provide funding before going on break.
Doctors from the National Institute of Health are also upset.
They've had to borrow money from other projects to get the effort going to combat Zika. However, they say they'll run out of those funds soon.
Now authorities are trying to control the mosquitoes in South Florida to prevent its spread.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says,"You can actually eliminate standing water which mosquitoes very vigorously procreate there. The other way is to kill the larvae with larvicides, insecticides, spraying with either backpack type spraying or even aerial spraying so they're putting a full court press on that right now."
Dr. Fauci doesn't believe there will be a widespread outbreak like we've seen in Brazil, but he says we could see more areas like Miami where it stays sustained for a while.
Five CDC emergency response team members are now here in Florida, three more will arrive Tuesday to help in the response.
August 1, 2016
MIAMI (CBS NEWS) -- The CDC has issued an advisory urging pregnant women to avoid travel to the small area of Miami-Dade County in Florida where the Zika virus is being spread by mosquitoes.
The announcement comes after the Florida Department of Health confirmed Monday that 10 additional cases were transmitted through local mosquitoes in the one-mile radius just north of downtown Miami, bringing the total number to 14.
All of the infections are believed to have occurred in the Wynwood arts district, a trendy neighborhood of art galleries and open-air exhibits, bars, restaurants and boutiques.
In a press briefing today, CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said that in addition to pregnant women avoiding travel to the Wynwood area, pregnant women who live and work there should take every precaution possible to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes.
This includes using an insect repellent with DEET, wearing long pants and long sleeves, staying indoors with air conditioning or window screens, and eliminating all standing water in and outside of homes where mosquitoes could breed.
Zika can also be spread through sex, so men and women who visit, live or work in this area should use condoms to avoid pregnancy and prevent spreading the virus to their partners, Frieden said.
People who have visited this area since June 15th (when the first infection is believe to have occurred) or later should avoid getting pregnant for eight weeks, health officials advised. Pregnant women who have visited the area on or after this date should be screened for Zika.
Zika is usually mild in adults and often causes no symptoms at all, but it is a much bigger hazard for pregnant women because the virus can cause severe birth defects.
The travel warning covers an area of about one square mile, which health officials said was large enough to provide a buffer zone.
But some experts say people in a much wider area could be at risk. Dr. Peter Hotez, a tropical medicine expert at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, said the CDC should expand the travel advisory to include all of Miami-Dade County.
"If you're pregnant or think you might be pregnant, avoid travel to Miami, and possible elsewhere in South Florida," Hotez told The Associated Press. "I'm guessing most women who are pregnant are doing that. I don't think they're sitting around for the CDC to split hairs and fine-tune it to a specific area."
The narrower warning zeroing in on Wynwood is based on the assumption that the tropical mosquitoes that spread Zika can only travel about 150-200 meters. However, some research suggests that the mosquitoes are actually capable of flying -- and spreading the virus -- much farther, up to 800 meters.
"That would suggest public health department should be testing close contact and community members in a greater radius, and may currently be undercounting the number of infected people," said CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook.
At the Borinquen Health Clinic, at the edge of the Zika zone, health workers are handing out insect repellent to pregnant women, and as of today began taking even more safety measures.
"Basically we just started to make sure that all pregnant women, symptomatic or asymptomatic, are going to get tested for the Zika virus," Dr. Diego Shmuels, the director of clinical operations, told CBS News correspondent David Begnaud.
The CDC has sent an emergency response team to Florida to assist in the ongoing investigation.
August 1, 2016
MIAMI (AP) -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott says 2,300 people have been tested for Zika across the state, including 200 people in the affected area in Miami.
Scott updated the media Monday after a meeting with health officials in Pinellas County, which is the Tampa area.
The governor says the tests detected 10 additional cases, bringing the number of cases in the state to 14.
He urged people statewide to eliminate areas of standing water, where mosquitoes breed.
Government health officials are warning that pregnant women should avoid travel to the Zika-stricken part of Miami and urging expectant mothers who frequent the neighborhood to get tested for the virus
August 1, 2016
MIAMI (AP) -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott says there are 10 new infections of the Zika virus likely transmitted by mosquitoes, bringing the total in the state to 14.
The new cases are clustered in the same square-mile neighborhood in Miami-Dade County identified last week. Florida health officials said in a news release Monday they believe active transmissions of Zika are occurring only in that area.
U.S. health officials do not expect widespread outbreaks of the sort seen in Brazil and Latin America. Although most people who get Zika don't know they're sick, infection during pregnancy can cause babies to be born with small heads and other defects.
More than 1,650 people in the mainland U.S. have been infected with Zika in recent months, nearly all while traveling abroad.
July 29, 2016
Orlando, Fla. (WCTV) -- Florida Governor Rick Scott said Friday that four cases of the Zika virus in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties are "likely mosquito-borne."
Scott made the announcement at a press conference in Orlando Friday morning.
Scott said that at this time, the Department of Health believes that the active transmissions of the virus are in the boundary of about 1 square mile within Miami.
Scott said that the state is committed to fighting the virus aggressively.
"Since our first travel-related case in February, Florida has taken an aggressive approach and committed state and local resources to combat this virus," Scott said. "Just like with a hurricane, we have worked hard to stay ahead of the spread of Zika and prepare for the worst."
Scott said that the DOH has activated the Joint Information Center within the State Emergency Operations Center to help impacted areas.
Scott has also directed that $620,000 be provided to OneBlood in the area to establish blood screening to ensure that pregnant women receive safe blood.
The governor also says that the DOH will work with the Department of Agriculture to ensure that mosquito control in the areas of concern will have the resources they need.
Health officials urged Florida residents to contact their OB/GYN if they are or thinking of becoming pregnant, and also to drain standing water and make sure that screens over doors and windows are working properly.
The cases are the first known cases in the country that are believed to be mosquito-born and not travel-related or sexually transmitted.