Pregnant women and their partners have been advised to avoid travelling to the Wynwood Arts District of Miami after the zika virus was transmitted by local mosquitoes.
This is the first time ever that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a travel advisory relating to a part of mainland United States.
Last year zika virus affected people in Brazil for the first time; now it is clear that infection with the zika virus during pregnancy can cause birth defects. The zika virus rapidly spread across Brazil and into numerous other countries in the region.
Although zika infections have been reported further afield, these have been in people who have recently travelled to an infected area. At least that was the case...
Last week it was confirmed that four individuals had been infected with the zika virus through local transmissions.
It is now reported that 14 people are infected with the zika virus after being bitten by local mosquitoes. The affected area is currently restricted to about one square mile in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.
The highest level of local travel advisory has been issued. In particular, women who are pregnant, or intending to become pregnant, and their partners are advised not to visit the area.
It is also recommended that women living or working in the area who are in the first or second trimester of pregnancy should be tested for zika.
We work closely with Florida to gather and analyze new information every day. With the new information that there are active mosquitoes still in the area and additional Zika infections, we conclude that pregnant women should avoid this area – and make every effort to prevent mosquito bites if they live or work there. We apply the same criteria within and outside of the United States, and are working closely with the State of Florida and Miami health departments to provide preventive services, including mosquito control.”
CDC Director Tom Frieden commented.
Concerted mosquito prevention and elimination strategies, including aerial spraying, are also being employed to nip this outbreak in the bud.
A CDC Emergency Response Team with experts in Zika virus is on site in Miami to help monitor and manage the situation.
The team will help with the collection of samples, assess and manage the concerns of pregnant women, investigate the risk of birth defects, educate about mosquito control and infection prevention.
The CDC has also made $16 million available to 40 US states and territories to ensure the thorough and continued collection of information relating to adverse outcomes caused by zika virus infection, eg, microcephaly in newborns.
Local residents of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties are being urged to help control the outbreak by draining any standing water, no matter how small, to remove mosquito breeding grounds and consistently taking measures to prevent mosquito bites, eg, wear long clothing and apply EPA-approved insect repellent to exposed skin.
Since the zika virus can also be spread through sexual contact, residents are being advised to use barrier methods of contraception and postpone any plans of starting a family.