Zika Virus Control
On Monday, the World Health Organization convened an International Health Regulations Emergency Committee meeting, where the Zika virus was deemed a public health emergency of international concern. Twenty-three countries in the Americas have reported active transmission of the virus since an outbreak began in Brazil last year.
Zika fever is a mild febrile illness caused by a mosquito-borne virus similar to those that cause dengue and West Nile virus infection. It has been identified in several countries in Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean since 2015. Outbreaks have previously been reported in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Cases of Zika fever have been reported in travelers returning to the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that all cases of Zika virus in the United States are believed to have been contracted by people recently returned from infected countries.
According to the Miami Herald “Zika virus has hit Florida harder than any other state. Among at least 15 Florida counties affected by the Zika Virus, Miami-Dade is home to the greatest number of cases with 39 people affected, according to the state’s count.
Of the cases confirmed in Florida, four cases are still exhibiting symptoms, which include fever, joint pain, rash and red eyes lasting seven to 10 days, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Florida has reported Zika infections in five pregnant women, who are considered to be at greatest risk from the infectious disease because of a conclusive link between the virus and congenital microcephaly, a condition in which a newborn’s head is smaller than expected, which can lead to developmental issues.
The CDC recommends that women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant postpone travel to affected areas where Zika is locally transmitted, including much of Latin America and the Caribbean”.