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Latest Zika Virus News and Discoveries in the US: Part One

DEC 14, 2016 | SARAH ANWAR
On Monday, December 12, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that the CDC granted the state a sum of $5 million to combat the spread of the Zika virus. According to a press release, this grant is part of an official Public Health Preparedness fund granted by Congress to fight Zika. In addition, the Texas Department of State Health is putting $18 million in state funds towards fighting the virus.
Governor Greg Abbott stated, “Texas has been at the forefront of developing and implementing the strongest possible Zika response plan and we will continue to work with our local and federal partners to ensure our communities have the tools they need to combat the Zika virus.”
Meanwhile, Florida Governor Rick Scott has cleared both Little River and the Miami Beach areas of active Zika transmission, since no locally-acquired Zika cases have been detected in these areas in 45 days.
Sand Dune Opposition Instills Fear of Zika in NJ Residents
Residents in Margate, New Jersey, have been fighting to keep sand dunes from being built around local beaches and now, locals are suing the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Environmental Protection to further this cause. The plaintiffs complain that the dunes would create areas of standing water, allowing for the breeding of Aedes mosquitoes, the same mosquitoes that are able to transmit the Zika virus.
Although some individuals believe that, since Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are not present in New Jersey, the local spread of Zika would not be a problem, there are other vectors present in New Jersey, such as Aedes albopictus, that are also able to transmit the virus. According to a recent article from the Rutgers University Center for Vector Biology, “New Jersey does not have established populations of Aedes aegypti, but the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus is a resident. This mosquito has been shown to carry the Zika virus and is highly suspect as a vector in some locations.” The article also stated that Ae. albopictus prefers to breed in small, shallow water containers, and does, in fact, bite humans. However, the authors also noted that should New Jersey experience a Zika virus outbreak, it would be “limited.”

Read Part Two of this article.
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