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First Case of Local Zika Transmission in the US?

JUL 20, 2016 | SARAH ANWAR
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently working with local health officials to investigate what may be the first case of locally-acquired Zika in the United States.
 
In a statement made on Tuesday, July 19, 2016, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) confirmed that it is carrying out an epidemiologic investigation of a case of Zika that may not be travel-related. The DOH will be providing Zika prevention kits and repellent to pregnant residents of Miami-Dade County, where the case was discovered.
 
Zika is confirmed to be the cause of several neurological complications, including Guillain-Barré syndrome, and congenital microcephaly, but there is still much about the virus that is unknown. Two recent cases of Zika infection have health officials baffled: in the first case, an elderly man in Utah died last month of possible complications from a travel-related Zika infection. The individual presented with an unusually high viral load. Weeks later, the second case, a family contact of the man, with no history of travel to a Zika-endemic country, was also diagnosed with the virus.
 
According to the CDC, to date, there have been over 1,300 Zika infection cases within the continental United States and Hawaii. Nonetheless, all of the cases in the United States have been reported in individuals who have either travelled to areas where the virus is endemic, or have contracted it through sexual intercourse with such individuals. This new case in Florida would be the first case of locally-acquired Zika in the United States.
 
The Florida DOH is working diligently alongside the CDC to investigate the cause of infection in the individual. Residents of the area are advised to clear standing water containers within the vicinity of their homes, as well as to use insect repellent and cover exposed skin to avoid mosquito bites. Furthermore, the DOH recommends that doors and windows be covered with mosquito nets to hinder mosquitos from entering homes.
 
This is an ongoing investigation. Contagion will provide more information regarding the case as it becomes available.
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