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Top 5 Contagion® News Articles for the Week of March 12, 2017

This week’s Top 5 articles focused once again on mosquito-borne infections, namely, more information on the threat of the Zika virus in Florida as well as additional complications associated with the infection have come to light. In addition, researchers are remarking on the importance of continuing research and development efforts towards a hepatitis C virus vaccine, despite cure rates that are achievable through direct-acting antivirals. Moreover, news regarding Clorox Healthcare products receiving additional EPA-registered kill claims, and the connection between dental plaque and ventilator-associated pneumonia make up the top two articles for the week.

5: Florida Residents at Increased Risk for Zika Virus Infection Since June 2016

The Zika virus made its way to the shores of the United States last year, hitting hardest in Florida. This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released information revealing just how long Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach residents have been at risk of contracting  the mosquito-borne infection.

According to the official statement from the CDC, residents in Broward and Palm Beach counties have been at increased risk since June 15, 2016 as a result of “local travel to areas of active transmission in Florida and challenges associated with defining the sources of exposure.” Confounding the issue further is the fact that individuals have a risk of contracting the virus through sexual contact, as the virus is known to persist in semen longer than other bodily fluids.

The CDC confirmed the possibility of sexual transmission of the virus in 2016 through more than one form of sexual intercourse. Because of the devastating effects of a Zika virus infection, particularly for unborn fetuses of infected mothers, the CDC stresses the importance of practicing safe sex, or abstaining from sex completely when one or both partners are living in or visiting areas endemic for Zika virus. Individuals should keep in mind that only 20% of those who are infected typically present with symptoms and so proactive measures of protection are important.

Because the virus can also be transmitted via blood transfusion, blood donations from the United States and Puerto Rico are continuously being tested for the virus. Unfortunately, “testing for tissue donors, including semen donors, is not currently available; however, tissue donors are asked travel history questions, and if they have traveled to or live in an area of active Zika virus transmission they would be determined ineligible under current FDA guidance.”

More information on the impact of the Zika virus in Florida counties is available here.

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