Zika Virus Now Spreading in the Mainland US

@moffittjc (34299)
Gainesville, Florida
August 4, 2016 3:21pm CST
The Zika virus, which has made headlines for its spread throughout tropical regions of the world and its debilitating effects on pregnant women, has now confirmed to have spread to the state of Florida, in the southeastern United States. The Zika virus is a generally mild infection caused by mosquito-borne viruses similar to those that cause chickungunya, dengue and West Nile virus. Up until recently, Zika has been most prevalent in southeast Asia, Africa, Central and South America, and portions of the Caribbean. Most recent reports have focused on the virus' prevalence in Brazil and Puerto Rico. Although there have been hundreds of cases of Zika reported in the United States, up until now it has all been the result of people traveling to Zika-infested areas of the world. However, that has changed. Florida has recently acknowledged that local cases of the Zika have been found in the Miami area. Currently, health officials believe that the virus is confined to a small area north of Miami, but could soon spread throughout the state. The two types of mosquitos that carry the Zika virus, the Yellow Fever mosquito and the Asian Tiger mosquito, are both widespread and established species in Florida. Currently, there is no cure for Zika, and in most cases the virus will run its course in people in about a week's time. Symptoms include mild fever, aches and pains, and general flu-like symptoms. The main risk is for pregnant females, as the virus transmitted to a pregnant woman can risk causing birth defects in their babies. I live in the northern part of Florida, so currently there are no major Zika alerts for us, but we have been encouraged to start spreading the word about the virus and taking steps to minimize chances of exposure to the mosquitos that may transmit the virus. This includes limiting activity at dusk and dawn, wearing insect repellent, wearing long pants and long sleeve shirts, and minimizing the amount of standing water around your property. This reminds me of a similar situation years ago when their was an encephalitis breakout, and pretty much any activity that was scheduled at dusk or later had to be cancelled, effecting sports leagues, outdoor picnics, holiday fireworks, etc. Let's hope the spread of the Zika virus can be contained before we reach that level again! Have you been following the Zika virus story in the news?
8 people like this
7 responses
@Asylum (46760)
• Manchester, England
4 Aug 16
I understand that Texas is also a potential area for Zika. The spread was inevitable due to rising temperatures that attract these species to otherwise clear territories.
3 people like this
@moffittjc (34299)
• Gainesville, Florida
4 Aug 16
Yes, the Zika-carrying mosquitos are present in Texas as well, so eventually it will spread there. I have no doubt in my mind that the spread of all these new viruses is due to the rise in global temperatures. We're going to be in for some rough times ahead.
2 people like this
@Asylum (46760)
• Manchester, England
4 Aug 16
@moffittjc They did a better job of defending the region at the Almost in 1836, so maybe if William Travis was still around the mosquitoes would not have got very far.
2 people like this
@Gina145 (4094)
• Johannesburg, South Africa
5 Aug 16
I saw a program about the effects on babies a few months ago. It was quite horrifying. I hadn't hear that it had spread to the US though.
2 people like this
@moffittjc (34299)
• Gainesville, Florida
5 Aug 16
Two reported cases within the last week or so. Both were in the same area, about a one square mile area just north of downtown Miami. The health department is throwing everything they can at that particular area to try and destroy all the mosquitos there before they can spread Zika further.
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@Gina145 (4094)
• Johannesburg, South Africa
5 Aug 16
@moffittjc I guess that two cases wasn't enough to make world news. I hope that the health department succeed in limiting it to those two.
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (34299)
• Gainesville, Florida
6 Aug 16
@Gina145 It was big news here in the U.S. because we have been dreading the day when the virus finally appeared on the mainland. And now it is here.
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@garymarsh6 (12103)
• United Kingdom
4 Aug 16
Yes, it is quite worrying. I guess the only way of avoiding it is to not getting bitten in the first place. I have been watching developments in Europe and there have been cases here too!
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@moffittjc (34299)
• Gainesville, Florida
4 Aug 16
I don't think we really have to be that alarmed about it as men, it's pregnant women who really have to be worried! In most cases, people will exhibit no signs of infection or only mild symptoms of infection, and it goes away in about a week. So, for me personally, I'm not worried about it at all. I just feel bad for pregnant women, who now have one more scary thing they have to worry about with their babies.
2 people like this
@garymarsh6 (12103)
• United Kingdom
4 Aug 16
@moffittjc yes thats true but if you are infected it may pass on to your partner. I think the current forecast is that the risk will reduce in around 3 years time.
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@JESSY3236 (4885)
• United States
5 Aug 16
I didn't know that it reached Florida. The last I heard about it was about Brazil and the Olympics.
2 people like this
@moffittjc (34299)
• Gainesville, Florida
5 Aug 16
Yeah, the cases were confirmed down in Miami. Both were in the same vicinity, so they are aggressively spraying for mosquitos in hopes of eliminating the threat before it spreads. But, even with those efforts, it's inevitable that the virus will eventually spread to the United States.
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (78261)
• United States
4 Aug 16
Yes, have been following this story. Lots of relatives in Florida. I wonder how many states will be affected? No self-respecting albeit dangerous mosquito of any kind would want to come to the Chicago area, I hope.
2 people like this
@moffittjc (34299)
• Gainesville, Florida
4 Aug 16
It will end up spreading through the southeast and west through Texas. Not sure how far north it will end up going, but the Yellow Fever and Asian Tiger mosquitos are only prevalent in the southeast, so hopefully it won't spread too much farther than that. Besides, the majority of the population doesn't even need to worry about this, since the illness is minor in most people. Really, it's only pregnant women that need to be cautious.
2 people like this
@Platespinner (18055)
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
4 Aug 16
I have been following the story somewhat, and am glad that my childbearing years are over and my children aren't there yet. From what I've ready it is a mild illness for most people, the big concern is the potential birth defects that can result. I wonder if people who aren't particularly high risk are going to panic over this the way they did over West Nile a number of years back.
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@moffittjc (34299)
• Gainesville, Florida
4 Aug 16
Unfortunately, I think people are going to panic unnecessarily over this. You are right, it's a mild illness for the majority of the population. In reality, the only people who should even be concerned over this are pregnant women.
2 people like this
@LoriAMoore (9561)
• United States
5 Aug 16
Yes. Our local news last night was explaining the things they've done locally to prevent Zika and all of the water testing they've been doing hasn't shown any sign of it yet.
1 person likes this