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Important ZIKA Articles and Information

At Mosquito Squad of Hampton Roads, we are concerned about your health and safety.

Welcome to the main source of information and news about the ZIKA Virus. As the Zika virus continues to make its impact on various regions in the United States, Mosquito Squad of Hampton Roads knows how important it is to share timely news, updates and tips on how to avoid mosquitoes and the seriously harmful diseases they can transmit. You can depend on Our ZIKA news and articles as a trusted source for current information on the ZIKA virus.

Plant Extract from Australia Can Kill Zika Virus: Study

  In a breakthrough, scientists have discovered a group of naturally occurring compounds in an Australian native plant that can effectively kill the Zika virus. Tests confirmed the compounds halted the virus and stopped it from replicating without damage to host mammalian cells, researchers said. “Our plaque assays found that the extract from this fairly common native plant killed 100 per cent of the Zika infection in cells,” said lead researcher Trudi Collet from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Australia. “It is also exciting because of the implications of this work for other viruses. Zika, Dengue, West Nile, Japanese Encephalitis and Yellow Fever are all from the same family of viruses – flaviviridae,” Collet said. “From here, we will work to identify the compounds over the next three to six months, synthesize them and then test them against these other viruses too,” said Collet. According to USA Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there was a 20-fold increase in the number of birth defects in women infected with Zika last year, researchers said. “Zika is becoming more prevalent in developed countries and, once contracted, the virus has been shown to remain in human sperm for six months,” said … READ MORE

Despite the Slow Down During Winter, Zika Continues Plaguing Florida

The Zika virus is mainly transmitted by the aedes aegypti mosquito, but, Florida Department of Health Secretary Celeste Philip says there are not well-researched protocols for how to get rid of the mosquito. “It’s different than the nuisance mosquitoes that most of us are familiar with in that instead of dusk and dawn—remember that messaging—they’re day biters,” she said, speaking last week to the Senate Budget committee. “Instead of being out and about in nature, they like to be in urban areas, close to people, inside homes, often times. And, so the way that you address, mitigate, and control the aedes aegypti mosquitoes is very different.” Philip says one of the focuses in this year’s health budget is more funding for epidemiologists, who deal with controlling different types of diseases. “As we’ve learned from our Zika response as well as in the past few years, there seems to be a new disease DuJour that the department is responsible for,” she added. “We’ve had Ebola, we’ve had MERS—which is a Middle East respiratory syndrome and have repeatedly had to depend on epidemiologists. And, what we find is we are able to respond very well to whatever that condition is, but some … READ MORE

First Locally-Acquired Zika Study Published in Miami

Following the recent Zika outbreak in Miami-Dade County, a multidisciplinary team of physicians has published a case study describing in detail the nation’s first locally-transmitted case of Zika. The findings of the case study, titled “Cutaneous Eruption in a U.S. Woman with Locally Acquired Zika Virus Infection,” largely center on the skin rash associated with the then-23-year-old pregnant patient’s diagnosis and provide a glimpse of the skin manifestations of the Zika virus. The report may have implications for future Zika screening, diagnoses and linkage to care throughout the United States and abroad. “Dermatologists and clinicians had an idea of what the Zika rash looked like, but it wasn’t until the patient presented here that we were able to get an up-close and personal look and photograph the skin,” said Lucy Chen, M.D., a Jackson Health System dermatology resident and lead author of the case study. “Any doctor now has a visual sense of the rash to properly diagnose and refer patients to the appropriate specialists.” The young woman whose case is detailed in the report was 23-weeks pregnant in July 2016 and had experienced three days of low-grade fever, a widespread rash and sore throat. The rash consisted of small … READ MORE

5 babies born in New York City with Zika-related birth defect since July

In New York City, 14 infants have tested positive for Zika virus, five of which have shown evidence of what’s being called congenital Zika virus syndrome.  In an alert sent to doctors, the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene urged vigilance and continued to discourage women from traveling to areas battling the virus, The New York Times reported. According to Wednesday’s alert, since July, at least four babies have been born in New York City with Zika-related symptoms, which can include microcephaly, in which the child’s brain is severely underdeveloped. The Department of Health reported the first case of a baby born in New York City with microcephaly on July 22. The New York Times reported that, as of Dec. 2, 962 city residents tested positive for Zika, including 325 pregnant women. “Today’s news is a reminder that Zika continues to be a threat to pregnant women and their babies,” said the city’s health commissioner, Dr. Mary T. Bassett, according to The New York Times. “We are closely following all babies born to mothers who test positive for Zika infection and will connect parents to available services to improve their child’s quality of life,” she added. Pregnant women and … READ MORE

Canceling the Zika Public Health Emergency Was the Wrong Thing to Do

“The World Health Organization did the right thing back in February when it declared the Zika outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern. It did the wrong thing last week when it ended the emergency. I say that for several reasons, not least of which is the signal given by the latest declaration: that Zika is no longer a pressing global concern. A legal technicality. I understand why the WHO Emergency Committee terminated the emergency. It felt obliged to follow the International Health Regulations, a move likely to set a precedent for future outbreaks. Zika is now endemic, and has been for many years. The major spread of the disease in Latin America and the Caribbean was an important reason to declare an emergency. Another was that the clusters of children born with small heads and major cognitive problems (microcephaly) were extraordinary events that required urgent research. The Emergency Committee felt that once those extraordinary events were confirmed as being linked to Zika and that the Olympics, which required emergency recommendations, were over, the requirement for a public health emergency of international concern — an unusual or unexpected event of international concern — was no longer met. … READ MORE

Zika Surfaces in Texas, Looks To Be First Local Transmission

“Texas health authorities said Monday that a Brownsville woman is infected with Zika, a case that could make the south Texas city the second place in the continental United States where the mosquito-borne virus is spreading locally. “Laboratory testing confirmed that the 43-year-old patient, who is not pregnant, had been infected. State and local health authorities said she reported no recent travel to any location with ongoing Zika transmission and no other risk factors. The lab tests found genetic material from the virus in the woman’s urine, but a blood test was negative, indicating that a mosquito can no longer spread the virus after biting her. “There are no other cases of suspected local transmission at this time, but health officials continue to conduct disease surveillance activities as part of the state’s ongoing response. “’We knew it was only a matter of time before we saw a Zika case spread by a mosquito in Texas,’ said John Hellerstedt, the state health commissioner. ‘We still don’t believe the virus will become widespread in Texas, but there could be more cases, so people need to protect themselves from mosquito bites, especially in parts of the state that stay relatively warm in the … READ MORE

Nearly 500 New Zika Cases Reported i n Puerto Rico Amid Epidemic

“Puerto Rico’s health secretary says nearly 500 new cases of Zika have been reported in the U.S. territory in the past week. “Ana Rius said Monday that 34,562 cases of the mosquito-borne virus have now been registered, including nearly 2,700 that involve pregnant women. Nearly 290 people have been hospitalized. “Authorities earlier this year declared a Zika epidemic on the island, and health officials have warned that a growing number of babies will be born with severe birth defects known as microcephaly, characterized by abnormally small heads in newborns. “Five people infected with Zika have died in recent months in Puerto Rico, including two who developed complications from a paralysis condition known as Guillain-Barre.”   Source: Daily Mail READ MORE

Zika Added to the American Heritage Dictionary

“When Steve Kleinedler first heard the word glamping, he thought the word wouldn’t be in use for long. “To be honest, you know, when I first saw this word several years ago, I’m like, ‘Oh, that’ll never stick around, that’s one of those cutesy words that comes and goes and fades away,’” said Kleinedler, executive editor of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. “But the word – which is defined as camping in a glamorous fashion – has stuck, and is now among more than 400 words and senses added to the dictionary this year. “Different dictionaries have different philosophies about how it adds words. In the case of the American Heritage Dictionary, they tend not to add words unless it’s one with staying power. “’We don’t want to put a word in only for it to, you know, fall out of use within the next year,’ Kleinedler said. ‘Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but that’s just not our policy and the way that we approach this.’ “Glamping has become ‘very prominent,’ showing up in newspapers in different regions of the country, blogs and marketing, Kleinedler said. “’You’ve got a whole commercial industry devoted (to) people … READ MORE

November 2016 CDC Zika Count Update

“This update from the CDC Arboviral Disease Branch includes provisional data reported to ArboNET for January 01, 2015 – November 16, 2016. United States 139 – Locally acquired mosquito-borne cases reported 4,115 – Travel-associated cases reported 1 – Laboratory acquired cases reported _____ 4,255 Total Sexually transmitted: 35″ READ MORE

Those Planning on Winter Vacations Still Need to Keep the Zika Virus in Mind

According to the World Health Organization, the Zika virus is here to stay. And with people planning their winter vacations, travelers are being advised to pack bug spray and long-sleeve clothing. “Travelers are busy looking for last minute vacation plans. “Deanna Sutherland Rigby from Vision Travel says warmer destinations are the most popular this time of year. “’Dominican, Cuba, Mexico and other southern Caribbean Islands.’ “They’re also places with the highest risks of contracting Zika. “Sutherland Rigby says while it is not top of mind for many vacationers it has been a topic of discussion this season. “Cases of Zika have now been reported in over 50 countries. “’You really can’t go anywhere now that there isn’t Zika virus.’ “Dr. Fiona Hunter is studying how the virus spreads to mosquitoes. She recently traveled to Brazil, another hot spot for the virus, and even plans on taking her family to the Dominican Republic this year. “’This is the new normal- having Zika virus in the south and if you do choose to go somewhere you have to take care of yourself.’ “She advises vacationers to bring bug spray with them because some places don’t sell them. “According to the Centres for … READ MORE

Computer Models Help to Forecast the Spread of Zika Virus

  “With about 60 countries and territories worldwide reporting active Zika virus transmission, predicting the global spread of the mosquito-borne illness has been challenging for public health officials. “However, researchers are leveraging large-scale computational models that integrate socio-demographic and travel data as well as simulations of infection transmission—requiring the computing power of 30,000 processors simultaneously—to project the path of the disease. “The Global Epidemic and Mobility (GLEaM) model has been used in the past to simulate the spread of Ebola, H1N1 flu, and other outbreaks on a worldwide scale. However, in forecasting Zika, researchers have relied more on the historical patterns of mosquito-borne diseases such as chikungunya and dengue. “While the Zika virus can also be transmitted sexually, their computer model does not take that mode of transmission into consideration. They describe the Zika virus epidemic as “characterized by slow growth and high spatial and seasonal heterogeneity, attributable to the dynamics of the mosquito vector and to the characteristics and mobility of the human populations.” “In fact, mosquitoes bring an added level of difficulty to the equation, given the uncertainty of their travel behaviors, abundance and lifecycle depending on temperature, as well as the relationship between Zika and its host … READ MORE

Zika Impacting Women at Higher Rates Than Men

“Adult women in Puerto Rico were significantly more likely to develop Zika than men, researchers said on Thursday, raising new questions about the potential role of sexual transmission of the virus from males to females. “The study, published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly report on death and disease, evaluated more than 29,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of Zika since the outbreak began in Puerto Rico in November 2015. “The data show that of all Zika cases with laboratory evidence of infection, 62 percent were female. The results pattern similar observations from Brazil and El Salvador, the authors said. “One obvious explanation might be that pregnant women are more likely than men to seek treatment for Zika because of the potential risk of birth defects. “To account for that, the researchers excluded all pregnant women who tested positive for the virus. Of the remaining 28,219 non-pregnant women and men testing positive for Zika, 61 percent of these cases occurred in women over the age of 20.”The Zika findings differ from prior outbreaks in Puerto Rico of arboviruses transmitted by the same mosquitoes as Zika. In the 2010 dengue outbreak and the 2014 chikungunya outbreak, infections were equally distributed … READ MORE

Florida voters just approved the release of mutant mosquitoes to combat Zika

   After the Food and Drug Administration gave the project the okay in August, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District got the final say, and a majority of its board said it would vote in line with the preference of Florida voters. On Tuesday, voters in the Keys voted by a solid majority to go ahead with a plan proposed by British biotech firm Oxitec to release genetically engineered male mosquitoes in Key Haven, a suburb of Key West.  More than 57% of the 40,000 votes cast in the Keys favored the project. While a majority of Keys residents voted in favor of the project, 65% of the 639voters in Key Haven, where the trial would be conducted, voted against it. In the Keys, fear and fiction played into the local discussion as much as-if not more-than-legitimate concern. “Are you in favor of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District conducting an effectiveness trial in Key Haven using genetically modified mosquitoes to suppress an invasive mosquito that carries mosquito-borne diseases?” the referendum asked. In the Keys, voters were asked to make a decision about science that might even seem confusing to some scientists. READ MORE

Will Winter Kill Zika?

Colder weather kills mosquitoes, but it doesn’t mean the virus is no longer a threat. “Okay, good news first: Mosquito season in the United States is basically over—even in warmer regions, like Florida and areas along the Gulf Coast. ‘The risk of mosquito transmission of viruses goes way down by the end of October,’ says Peter Hotez, a pediatrician and the dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College. “By early November, he told me, West Nile Virus and dengue fever pretty much ‘disappear’ for the winter. Does this mean everyone can stop worrying about the Zika virus, too? “Well, here’s where the bad news comes in. “Zika isn’t a threat that’s going away anytime soon, despite the fact that in most areas of the U.S., cold weather brings the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses like Zika down to nearly zero. (In the Southernmost regions of Florida and Texas, the risk of such viruses declines in the winter, but doesn’t go away entirely.) The thing is, scientists still don’t understand Zika well enough yet to predict with certainty what’s going to happen in the months to come. It still seems like the outlook for Zika becomes more alarming … READ MORE

With $1.1 billion in new funding, U.S. health officials outline plan for fighting Zika

“Averting an election-year crisis, Congress late Wednesday sent President Barack Obama a bill to keep the government operating through Dec. 9 and provide $1.1 billion in long-delayed funding to battle the Zika virus. “The House cleared the measure by a 342-85 vote just hours after a bipartisan Senate tally. The votes came after top congressional leaders broke through a stalemate over aid to help Flint, Michigan, address its water crisis. Democratic advocates for Flint are now satisfied with renewed guarantees that Flint will get funding later this year to help rid its water system of lead. “The hybrid spending measure was Capitol Hill’s last major to-do item before the election and its completion allows lawmakers to jet home to campaign to save their jobs. Congress won’t return to Washington until the week after Election Day for what promises to be a difficult lame-duck session. “The bill caps months of wrangling over money to fight the mosquito-borne Zika virus. It also includes $500 million for rebuilding assistance to flood-ravaged Louisiana and other states. READ MORE

Zika Fear has Americans Rethinking Fall Travel to Florida

Florida’s tourism industry is likely to take a big hit this fall as millions of Americans say they won’t be traveling to the Sunshine State due to concerns over the Zika virus. According to new analysis conducted by travel insurance provider Allianz Global Assistance, the number of people preparing to visit the state during the fall and winter seasons has dropped by almost 15 percent following highly publicized incidents of the mosquito-transmitted virus. The drop comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel warning in August for people heading to South Florida. The warning for the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami-Dade County was recently lifted last week with the CDC saying it was no longer a zone of active transmission. But the agency continues to caution pregnant women about traveling to the city and surrounding areas. The insurance provider reviewed more than 900,000 travel plans made by Americans during the month of August for the peak fall-winter vacation period, which covers travel from mid-Nov. 2016 to mid-April 2017. Compared to the same period last year the provider found that the number of travelers planning to book flights to Miami was down 29.11 percent. The state of Florida as a … READ MORE

The Zika Outbreak in America

“America is already facing a Zika outbreak. The disease has already infected almost 20,000 American citizens and more than 1,500 pregnant women — with some estimates reaching as high as over 10,000 infected pregnant women. There have been dozens of hospitalizations and dozens of cases of the immune disorder Guillain-Barré, including at least one fatal case. Thirteen Zika-infected mothers have either aborted or miscarried fetuses, many of which exhibited the brain damage often related with the disease. This year’s cases are just the beginning, and it looks like the virus could become prevalent on American soil in the near future. “As Congress hesitates over funding for Zika prevention on the mainland, the island commonwealth of Puerto Rico is at a stage well beyond the reach of a preventive strike. As the virus still struggles to establish a beachhead among Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in southern Florida, it has found a home in the Caribbean heat and moisture of Puerto Rico. And that’s awful for an island still deep in the throes of an economic and philanthropic disaster, and for one that’s always struggled with an underfunded and undermanned health infrastructure. Though Puerto Rico’s unique tropical climate is an outlier compared with … READ MORE

Doctors Brace for Zika Babies

“This month, the first group of babies in Puerto Rico known to have been exposed to the Zika virus in their first trimester are being born. Pediatricians do not know what to expect. “’This is not like any other outbreak or epidemic,’ said Dr. Fernando Ysern, a pediatrician in Caguas, Puerto Rico, who is the president of the Puerto Rico chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “In the pediatric field, Zika looms as a kind of developmental doomsday virus, attacking the vulnerability of early brain development, striking at the neurological basis of human potential. While Puerto Rico, a United States territory, will experience the first wave of children affected by Zika, the rest of the United States is bracing for the spread of the virus. “As of Sept. 23, the Puerto Rico Department of Health reported 22,358 cases of Zika exposure, including 1,871 pregnant women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest statistics, as of Sept. 15, list 1,348 pregnant women with “any laboratory evidence of possible Zika virus infection” in United States territories and 749 in the United States. “Exposure to Zika while pregnant does not mean a child definitely will be born with microcephaly, an unusually … READ MORE

Miami Beach Issues Thousands of Dollars in Zika Fines

The City of Miami Beach is aggressively enforcing a code that prohibits standing water in response to the recent Zika cases “The effort to control breeding grounds for mosquitoes that could carry Zika is stinging property owners with some stiff fines. “Since the city launched its war on mosquitoes on August 19, it has issued $72,000 in fines against properties where stagnant water is pooling, according to figures provided to NBC 6 Investigators by the city. “Small, shaded pools of stagnant water are where the mosquito that carries Zika thrives. “’It’s really about trying to get the Zika under control,” said city manager Jimmy Morales. “During this crisis period, we have gone to businesses that have such obvious violations that we do hit them with an immediate fine to try to get immediate compliance.’   Source: NBC News Miami READ MORE

Gulf States Next at Risk for Zika Outbreak, NIH Official Says

“Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), warned that Gulf Coast states are the most susceptible to a new Zika outbreak. “’Well, the ones that are most at risk, George, are those along the Gulf Coast. I would not be surprised if we see cases in Texas, in Louisiana, particularly now where you have a situation with flooding in Louisiana,’ Fauci told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on ‘This Week.’ “’When you have a sub-tropical, or semi-tropical region with the right mosquitoes, and individuals who have travel-related cases that are in the environment, it would not be surprising that we will see additional cases, not only in Florida, but perhaps in other of the Gulf Coast states,’ he said. ’On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel warning after five Zika infections were confirmed in Miami-Dade County. “The CDC recommended that those living or traveling to the area increase their efforts to prevent mosquito bites and advised pregnant women and their partners to postpone ‘nonessential travel to all parts of Miami-Dade County.’ “The head of the NIAID said Americans should take the threat of Zika seriously, although he does not … READ MORE

Johns Hopkins Opens World’s First Zika Virus Center

“Johns Hopkins Medicine has launched the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Zika Center, where medical professionals focus on caring for patients with the Zika virus. The center is touted as the first multidisciplinary Zika center in the world. “The center’s staff, providers and members are from Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and medical experts from Brazil. These experts focus on infectious diseases, maternal-fetal medicine, ophthalmology, epidemiology, pediatrics, physiotherapy, psychiatry and social work. “’Patients will no longer be required to travel to multiple centers for care relating to Zika virus,’ said William May, MD, associate professor of ophthalmology, Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute, in a statement. ‘Physicians and staff members in various departments at Johns Hopkins will be available to provide comprehensive care to patients within one institution.’ “While the virus is most commonly known to cause microcephaly, a birth defect affecting the brain, the virus also causes eye abnormalities, like cataracts, in over half of the babies infected with Zika. The Wilmer Eye Institute led the Zika center’s development, which will be able to address these concerns. “Both adults and pediatric patients from around the world can be referred to the center by outside physicians or through Johns … READ MORE

CHINA- Mosquito eradication certificates required from Zika affected areas

According to the notice, people from the countries or areas where infection cases have been reported should declare to CIQ before entering or leaving the country in case they suffer from fever, headache, muscle and joint pain or rash, and should fully cooperate with local CIQ for temperature detection, medical check and epidemiological investigation. Furthermore, transportation vehicles and containers coming from the above-mentioned countries and areas should take effective measures to eradicate mosquito. Vessels shall hold mosquito eradication certificate issued by the authorities of the affected countries, otherwise, immediate eradication should be taken under the supervision of CIQ. Strict quarantine inspection should be taken to transportation vehicles, cargo, containers, luggage and postal parcels from those countries and areas. This is valid for 12 months starting on 02 March 2016. In view of the enhanced inspection and requirement by Chinese quarantine authorities against Zika virus, vessels that sail from ports in the affected countries to China are recommended to obtain a mosquito eradication certificate issued by authorities of the affected country if possible, so as to avoid any possible delay or trouble when calling China. In case no such certificate has been obtained, vessels are suggested to cooperate with local CIQ … READ MORE

JetBlue Will Also Refund Tickets For Travel To Areas Hit By Zika Virus

JetBlue is joining the list of airlines allowing refunds for customers who are traveling to certain regions hit by the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne illness that has been linked to birth defects in thousands of babies. Travelers can either get their tickets refunded or rebook flights for free, a spokesman said Thursday. READ MORE

Zika Holds Wynwood, Florida Captive — 21 Cases Confirmed So Far

“Sherrie Varpula-Walter has spent most of the last week holed up in her apartment. “She is three months into her second pregnancy and doing everything she can to avoid being bitten by a mosquito infected with the Zika virus. “Her husband, Matt Walter, has taken charge of walking their two dogs. If she must run an errand, she sprays herself with insect repellent and puts on socks, jeans and a long-sleeved shirt — even though it’s 90 degrees outside. “In Miami, where health authorities have identified at least 21 cases of locally transmitted Zika, these are anxious times for expectant mothers and women hoping to become pregnant. The virus can inflict devastating damage to the brain of an infected woman’s fetus. “’You are in the worst possible situation now, and there is not much you can do about it,’ said Varpula-Walter, a speech pathologist. ‘It’s just a waiting game.’ “The species that spreads Zika, Aedes aegypti, doesn’t travel more than 150 yards in its lifetime, and outbreaks of other diseases carried by the mosquito have been highly localized in the U.S. “That may be partly because Aedes aegypti lays its eggs in small pools of water — as little as … READ MORE

Zika Hits the U.S. Locally in Florida, 15 Cases to Date

After travelers returned to the United States who had contracted the Zika virus elsewhere, once a mosquito bit those stricken and took their blood, the mosquito-transmitted the Zika virus locally by biting other other humans. Watch this CNN Report featuring the owner of the DC Mosquito Squad READ MORE

Florida May have It’s First Zika Virus Outbreak

Florida health officials said Tuesday they were investigating a possible case of Zika that wasn’t brought back by a traveler. If it’s confirmed, it would be the first evidence that Zika has spread to mosquitoes in the continental U.S. All cases up to now have been in people who traveled to Zika-affected regions or their sexual partners. Small, local outbreaks of Zika virus are fully expected in southern states such as Florida, Louisiana and Texas. These states are home to the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that most commonly transmit the virus. “Today the Florida Department of Health announced that it is conducting an investigation into a possible non-travel related case of Zika virus in Miami-Dade County,” the health department said in a statement. “The department is actively conducting an epidemiological investigation, is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and will share additional details as they become available.” The CDC said it will help investigate. “At this time, state and local officials in Florida are leading the investigation, and CDC is closely coordinating with Florida officials. To date, Florida public health officials have confirmed Zika infection through laboratory testing; upon request, CDC will conduct additional laboratory testing,” the agency said in … READ MORE

First Zika Related Death Seen in the US

“A person infected with Zika has died in Utah, and while the exact cause is unclear, authorities said it marks the first death related to the virus in the continental U.S. “The unidentified Salt Lake County resident contracted the virus while traveling abroad to an area with a Zika outbreak, health officials said. “The patient who died in late June was elderly and also suffered from another health condition, according to the Salt Lake County Health Department. “The person had Zika symptoms — including rash, fever and conjunctivitis — but it’s unclear if or how the virus contributed to the death, said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesman Benjamin Haynes. “Officials discovered the case while reviewing death certificates, and lab tests confirmed their suspicions, said Gary Edwards, executive director of the Salt Lake County Health Department. “Utah authorities refused to release additional information about the patient or where he or she traveled, citing health privacy laws.” READ MORE

Brazil has 138,000 Cases of the Zika Virus

Globo.com reports that “Brazil has recorded 138,108 probable cases of Zika virus in 2016 – the incidence rate in the country is 67.6 cases per 100 thousand people. Of these, 49,821 were confirmed, according to data released by the Ministry of Health on June 17, 2016. The figures were recorded until May 7, 2016, the 18th epidemiological week. “In the last published report, with data as of the 30th of April, the number of probable cases reported was 127,822, an increase of 10,286 notifications of Zika virus. The number of confirmations was 43,227 – resulting in an increase of 6,594 cases. “The Midwest region has the highest incidence of the virus, with 140.9 cases/100,000 inhabitants. The states with the highest rates are Mato Grosso, with 558.1 cases/100,000 inhabitants, Bahia, with 265.9 cases/100,000 inhabitants and Rio de Janeiro, with 230.8 cases/100,000 inhabitants.” READ MORE

Zika Vaccine Trial Gets Approved

“Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and GeneOne Life Science, Inc. announced that they have received approval to begin a phase I human trial to evaluate Inovio’s Zika DNA vaccine (GLS-5700) to prevent infection from this virus. In preclinical testing this synthetic vaccine induced robust antibody and T cell responses in small and large animal models, demonstrating the product’s potential to prevent infection from this harmful pathogen in humans. “This phase I, open-label, dose-ranging study with 40 healthy subjects will evaluate the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of GLS-5700 administered intradermally with CELLECTRA, Inovio’s proprietary DNA delivery device. “Dr. J. Joseph Kim, Inovio’s President & CEO, said, ‘We are proud to have attained the approval to initiate the first Zika vaccine study in human volunteers. As of May 2016, 58 countries and territories reported continuing mosquito-borne transmission of the Zika virus; the incidences of viral infection and medical conditions caused by the virus are expanding, not contracting. We plan to dose our first subjects in the next weeks and expect to report phase I interim results later this year.’ “Mr. Young K. Park, GeneOne Life Science’s President & CEO, said, ‘It is an honor for our company to help usher this Zika vaccine through … READ MORE

Zika Virus Creates Dire Need for Blood Donations

With the rise of the Zika virus, the United Blood Services have requested that all people who are eligible blood donors should get out and donate. “Donors who have traveled recently to areas hit by the virus can’t donate, limiting supply. At the same time, officials say patient transfusion rates have surged 13 percent above normal levels. “United Blood Services reported a 1½-day supply in Arizona on Wednesday, which is only half the amount they typically attempt to keep on the shelf. “”Sue Thew”: a spokeswoman for United Blood Services, said that blood can only be kept for so long because it has a short shelf life. So the agency has to rely on regular donations. “Donated blood must make it through testing and processing before being available for transfusion. That takes 24 to 36 hours. “We only have a blood supply of one and a half days, and it takes one and a half days to process today’s donations,” Thew said. “We can’t wait until the situation gets worse to alert the public because if we tell people the day we need blood, it won’t be available for use for another day and a half. That’s why it’s so … READ MORE

Travel Companies not sending refunds due to Zika

  “When Autumn and Toby Titone found out they were expecting their second child, after already booking a summer vacation to St. Maarten in the Caribbean, they assumed they would get reimbursed by their travel insurance. “After all the Centers for Disease Control advises pregnant women not travel to areas where the Zika virus is present. “’We looked at each other and we were like, Oh… it`s OK we`ll be fine because the insurance will cover this, surely the insurance will cover it,’ said Autumn Titone of Castle Rock. “The couple even had a doctor’s note but that wasn’t good enough for Chicago-based Aon Insurance. “The company’s policy states it will reimburse airfare for cancellation due to ‘sickness, injury or death’ but not pregnancy. “’We’ve been prescribed preventative measures to prevent sickness or injury,’ said Toby Titone, before adding, ‘They asked me directly ‘is your wife sick with Zika right now?’ and you know obviously No we`re trying to prevent that and they said ‘well if she does she`ll be covered,’” chuckled Titone in near disbelief. “A spokeswoman for Aon Insurance confirmed the couple would be eligible for $5,000 in medical expenses if Autumn contracted the baby deforming Zika virus … READ MORE

Doctor Says that Miami is Zika’s Ground Zero

Don’t be scared…Be informed. That was the message that health experts at Baptist Health South Florida wanted their audience to take away after an information session regarding the Zika virus and pregnancy. “About 40 men and women attended Zika and Pregnancy: What You Need to Know at the Baptist Health Resource Center to ask questions and listen to presentations from Dr. Michael Jacobs, a reproductive endocrinologist, and Barbara Russell, director of infection control at the hospital,” reports Emily Cochrane. ’We don’t want to scare people,’ said Dr. Jason James, chairman of the hospital’s department of obstetrics and gynecology and the event’s moderator. ‘But our goal here is to educate people so they make appropriate choices.’ “He said Miami is “ground zero” for a possible outbreak because of the tropical weather, the number of Latin American travelers and the Aedes aegypti and aedes albopictus mosquitoes that are present in South Florida. Miami-Dade County has the most Zika cases in the state, with 51 cases as of Wednesday. Broward has the second most number of cases, at 19. Florida had 172 cases as of Wednesday, including 38 cases involving pregnant women regardless of symptoms, according to the Florida Department of Health. All … READ MORE

James Harden and Russell Westbrook are latest NBA stars to opt out of Olympics

NBA Superstar guards James Harden and Russell Westbrook has decided not to participate in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Westbrook and Harden join the growing list of players who have opted out of Rio.  That includes NBA MVP Stephen Curry and Clippers stars Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. They have not specifically mentioned Zika as the reason for staying home, but they have mentioned health reasons as one of the main concerns. Harden said, “As a result of many difficult conversations with my family, the Rockets, and trusted advisors, I’ve notified Jerry Colangelo and Team USA that I will not be competing at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Brazil.  This decision was a painstaking one that I did not take lightly.” Officials in Brazil think the outbreak will be under control once the winter hits and the temperatures cool down and the mosquitoes begin to die off.  Some officials had suggested moving the Olympics to the winter, but that is not going to happen.   READ MORE

Detroit Tigers Pitcher Francisco Rodriguez Says He Battled the Zika Virus in the Offseason

Detroit Tigers pitcher Francisco Rodriguez is telling anyone who is considering traveling to Brazil for the Olympics to do their homework on the virus. Rodriguez contracted the virus last offseason and learned how serious the disease can be.  He was in bed for two weeks with body aches, joint pain, headaches and other symptoms. The World Health Organization has categorized Zika, a mosquito-transmitted illness that can cause microcephaly in infants as well as other developmental issues, as a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” but just ruled that canceling or changing the location of the 2016 Olympics “will not significantly alter the international spread of Zika virus.” The WHO’s decision comes in spite of a recent plea from a group of 150 health experts to delay the event. “I wouldn’t blame them,” Rodriguez told ESPN.com of any athletes having second thoughts about competing. “If they have plans to have kids in the future, you’ve got to think about it. You have to be aware of that as well. You have to do some homework, some research about it.” For Rodriguez, who spends his offseason back home in Venezuela, what started as something similar to a cold quickly devolved into something much … READ MORE

NBC: ‘Small handful’ of employees have dropped out of Olympics trip due to Zika

Savanah Guthrie of the “Today” show has recently announced that she will not be attending the Olympics in Brazil due to concerns over the Zika virus.  Guthrie, who is 44, announced she is pregnant with her second child and doesn’t want to risk contracting the virus.  Brazil is the country that has been hit the hardest by the Zika virus, and many people are considering the consequences of going to the Olympics. NBC is sending more that 2,000 employees to Brazil for the Olympics, which take place August 5-21.  They are advising anyone concerned about the virus to check with their doctors and determine if their health is at risk.  NBC has not said what “a small handful” of employees means, but Guthrie is the first to drop out and identify herself publically. The World Health Organization said on Tuesday that is will have a special committee to examine the stage of the Zika virus.  The WHO and CDC both recommend that pregnant women should not travel to countries where Zika is present, including Brazil. We will continue to keep you updated with any more news concerning the Zika virus.   Source: Fox News READ MORE

Guillain-Barré Syndrome Effects Some People Sickened by The Zika Virus

“Carver-Kimm is helping warn people about the Zika virus, which mosquitoes are spreading through the Caribbean, South America and could become a threat in the Southern United States. The possible complications include Guillain-Barré syndrome, which attacks nerve cells, causing muscle weakness, tingling, and even paralysis.” “Carver-Kimm hasn’t contracted the Zika virus, but she has struggled with an illness related to Guillain-Barré syndrome since 2012, when it knocked her flat. She has suffered intense pain. She has fallen down stairs. She has been put on a ventilator to help her breathe. She has twice had to relearn how to use her legs, and she still has some paralysis in her face. “’I actually consider myself very lucky that I’m working and I’m walking,’ she said. ““She continues to feel tingling in her limbs. She needs a nap to make it through some days. But she’s still out there, helping Iowans understand how to keep themselves healthy.” “No one knows for sure what sparks Guillain-Barré, but it often strikes after people are sickened by influenza or other illnesses. Scientists have recently noted an increase in cases among people sickened by the Zika virus, though they’re trying to confirm the link.” We will … READ MORE

Two Travel-Related Zika Cases found in Northwest Virgnia

There have been a total of 18 travel-related cases of the Zika virus in Virginia, according to the Center for Disease Control.  Two of those cases are in the northwest region, one in the eastern, four in the central and two in the southwest region.  It is important to note that these are all travel related cases, and nobody in the United States has contracted the virus due to a mosquito bite.   “For more information about the Zika virus, Dr. Kartchner and Daniel Ferrell, VDH’s Rappahannock-Rapidan district epidemiologist, will give a presentation during the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors on June 7 at 10 a.m. and to the Madison County Board of Supervisors on June 14 at 4 p.m.” READ MORE

Genetically Modified Mosquito May Reduce Population by Up to 90%

The United States Food and Drug Administration is recommending a genetically modified mosquito to help combat the Zika virus.  Many residents in Florida are not pleased with this because they are unsure what will happen. Gillian Mohney reports that “The head of a British biotech company that has developed a genetically modified mosquito in an effort to lower the population of the insects that spread the Zika virus called for federal regulators to expedite a decision about on conducting a test of these mosquitoes in Florida.” “The GMO mosquitoes are all male and hence do not bite. When released into the wild, they mate with females and produce nonviable offspring, thereby reducing the mosquito population without the need for pesticides. They have already been used in Brazil and the Cayman Islands to fight the spread of the Zika virus. “’I think we should encourage them to find the processes to make this happen,’ Parry said, noting that an emergency route for approval may be appropriate in this case. He pointed out that the GMO mosquitoes can reach mosquitoes in areas where traditional spraying can’t, such as in indoor areas. “’We can target the mosquito as an integrated approach. We have … READ MORE

279 Pregnant Women in the US Have the Zika Virus

Nora Kelly reports that “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that 279 pregnant women in the United States and its territories have the Zika virus, which is linked to birth defects and other health conditions. The CDC will now report all cases of pregnant women testing positive for the virus, regardless of whether they show symptoms. The news comes during a funding debate between Congress and the Obama administration, which has asked for almost $2 billion to combat the Zika virus. “Previously, the CDC only reported the number of pregnant women who tested positive for Zika and either showed symptoms or had Zika-related complications, a news release explains. Now, the agency is reporting all pregnant women who have ‘any laboratory evidence’ of possible infection, no matter what. The CDC made the change after seeing reports of asymptomatic pregnant women who delivered children with birth defects. Researchers still haven’t nailed down women’s ‘absolute risk’ of having microcephalic babies, a CDC official recently told PBS NewsHour.” READ MORE

World Health Organization Blames Lack of Mosquito Control for the Outbreak of the Zika Virus

Maggie Fox reports that “The Zika epidemic and the birth defects it’s causing are both the fault of governments that abandoned programs to control mosquitoes and to provide even the most basic family planning assistance to young women, the head of the World Health Organization said last Monday. “’Let me give you a stern warning. What we are seeing now looks more and more like a dramatic resurgence of the threat from emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. The world is not prepared to cope,’ WHODirector-General Dr. Margaret Chan told a meeting of the World Health Assembly. “Brazilian experts have been pointing out that the country once successfully eliminated the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry the Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever viruses. Then the government simply stopped paying for eradication and prevention, and the mosquitoes came back. “’Above all, the spread of Zika, the resurgence of dengue, and the emerging threat from chikungunya are the price being paid for a massive policy failure that dropped the ball on mosquito control in the 1970s,’ Chan said. “Chan’s warning echoes what the Obama administration and U.S. health officials have been saying. They charge that public health is not just being underfunded, but … READ MORE

NBA Player Pau Gason Considering Skipping Olympics Due to Zika

Chicago Bulls player Pau Gasol is considering skipping the upcoming Summer Olympics in Brazil due to the Zika Virus. The Spanish basketball star said recently that there is too much uncertainty about the situation in Brazil and anyone who plans to go should think about whether it is worth the risk. The Bulls have reported that other athletes have expressed their concern about the virus and are considering skipping the games. “It wouldn’t surprise me to see some athletes deciding not to participate in the games to avoid putting their health and the health of their families at risk,” Gasol said, adding that he was among the athletes making such considerations. “I’m thinking about (whether or not to go),” he said. “Just like every athlete, or any other person considering going to Rio, should be thinking about it.” “Some of these athletes are planning to have children in the near future and this could affect them, it could affect the health of their kids and their wives,” he said at an event for one of his sponsors in Madrid. “Their health should come first.”  Families and friends of the athletes that want to see them compete in Brazil need to think … READ MORE

Pacific Disaster Center Tracking Zika Globally

The mapping company Esri is involved with a new plan to map regional vulnerabilities to the Zika virus to help eliminate outbreaks. According to Karen Richardson at Ersi, “By sharing mapped intelligence with health services and aid responders, Pacific Disaster Center is able to provide essential information that defines the characteristics of the virus and its carrier’s breeding grounds.” “The center provides situational awareness information for all manner of disasters. Esri, the world leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, creates technology that generates smart maps derived from a wide variety of data resources and then publishes them across information networks. PDC uses these capabilities to add different data layers—hospital density, rain, vector programs, and so forth—to maps. Maps make it easier and faster for disaster managers to understand the scope of a region’s vulnerability to disease. The center serves its map products around the world to organizations that depend on it for intelligence about specific regions.” “’Esri GIS technology specifically allows us to characterize the Zika virus outbreak and contextualize it for decision makers,’ explained Dr. Joseph Green, PDC’s health risk specialist. ‘Our maps describe the distribution of suspected cases at national levels throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.’ The solution to containing the Zika … READ MORE

Kansas Resident Is State’s First Confirmed Zika Case

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed the first case of the Zika Virus in Kansas. The Kansas Department of Health confirmed that the individual had traveled to a country where the virus is actively spreading. “Kansas is prepared for the Zika virus, and we are working with health care providers across the state to respond to both suspected and confirmed cases,’ said Susan Mosier, MD, MBA, FACS, KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer. ‘I urge everyone who is considering travel to a country with Zika transmission to be aware of the situation and take precautions to protect themselves and prevent mosquito bites.” There have been many recent reports of the Zika virus around the country.  The best way to avoid getting the virus is to not go to countries where the virus is spreading.  There have not been any cases of the virus being transmitted via mosquito bites in the United States, so there is nothing to worry about here, but many countries in the Caribean currently have travel restrictions due to the Zika virus. Health experts have warned Olympic athletes that if they do not want to contract the virus, they should avoid traveling to Brazil.   Source: The … READ MORE

The Six T’s to Mosquito Control

There are a number of different things that one can do to help reduce the mosquito population on their property.  Mosquitoes only need one bottle cap full of water in order to breed, so eliminating standing water is the most important thing you can do.  Here at The Mosquito Squad, we have come up with the “Six T’s of Mosquito Control”   Tip over anything that holds water. This includes birth baths, tires, and old toys. Toss any trash in the yard, including leaves, debris, sticks.  Standing water will collect under debris, and is a breeding ground for the mosquitoes Turn any items that could hold water and trash.  This includes sandboxes, plastic toys, children’s slides, small pools, dog bowls and light fixtures. Remove Tarps that can hold water.  Many people use tarps to cover items on their property, but tarps hold a lot of water.  It is important to get rid of the water if possible.                                                           Pools and other things like this are perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes   Take Care … READ MORE

Tracing Zika Back to The Very Beginning

Researchers have been trying to figure out how the Zika virus has spread from Africa and Asia over to the Americas. Scientists have confirmed that Zika causes birth defects, and also can cause nerve disorders in children and adults.  The virus hasn’t always acted that way.  Learning how and why the virus mutated could be key to figuring out why it’s so dangerous before it comes through the Americas and over to the Mediterranean. Zika was first discovered in Uganda in the 1940’s, but it was 5 years after that since the first human cause of the virus was reported in the region.   ‘It is challenging to state definitively who the first patient is whoever contracted the virus or brought it to a new country,’ said Ann Powers, the acting chief of the Arboviral Diseases Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Up until the 1980’s, humans that contracted Zika only had mild illnesses.  It wasn’t until 2007 that a large outbreak was recorded, and awareness began to spread.  Up to three-quarters of the island of Yap were infected.  Zika then began to move across the Pacific Ocean, and as it moved, it seemed to change.  Scientist believe … READ MORE

Survey Says Americans Don’t Follow the CDC’s Advice About Mosquito Protection.

With the news that local mosquitoes can carry the Zika virus, Americans have not yet started to embrace basic recommendations for controlling the mosquito population in their own home. Unlike other mosquito born diseases, Zika has been identified as a world health crisis and we must work together to fight mosquitoes, said Scott Zide, President of Outdoor Living Brands, and co-founder of the Mosquito Squad. Removing standing water is the most vital tactic to eliminate mosquitoes, yet home-owners are not actively removing it, which is shocking given that mosquito concerns are so high. According to Zide, nearly 50% of people do not plan to do anything different in their yards, despite the news regarding the virus. The results of the Mosquito Squad Fight the Bite Report, almost 75% of Americans do not plan to modify their time outside due to the mosquito activity, and less than 50% follow the CDC’s recommendations to reduce mosquito breeding. Finding from the survey: • Only 36% of Americans remove items in their yard that hold standing water. • Less than half thrown out lawn debris, which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes • Only about 25% of Americans shake out their tarps, including BBQ … READ MORE

WHO Says Zika virus could spread to Europe in the Coming Months

The WHO has said that the Zika virus could spread to Europe in the next few months. They classify the risk as low to moderate. The mosquito-borne virus has been detected in more than 50 countries and linked to thousands of cases of microcephaly, a birth defect causing unusually small heads in newborns. France is the most likely country to contract the virus due to the high urban population. Other countries with higher risk include Italy, Spain, Romania and a few others. The WHO says that the virus is likely to spread in the late Spring and Summer if nothing is done to stop it. “The new evidence published today tells us that there is a risk of spread of Zika virus disease in the European region and that this risk varies from country to country,” Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO regional director for Europe. Countries with a higher risk are being told to take stronger measures to stop the spread and growth of mosquitoes by reducing standing water. Mosquitoes only need a bottle cap full of water in order to breed. It is important to tip over bird baths, tires, kids toys, old flower pots, and anything that will hold … READ MORE

Zika is coming–What Will Congress Do About it?

Congress is undergoing pressure to pass an emergency package to fund efforts to combat the Zika virus– some officials are concerned that the virus could be transmitted for the first time in the United States later this summer. It has now been three months since President Obama first asked lawmakers for funds to combat the virus, and even though they haven’t done anything yet, the Senate is expected to vote next week on a deal. So far, nobody in the United States has gotten the virus as a result of a mosquito bite, but nearly 500 people have returned have with symptoms of the virus after traveling to areas in South America. Zika, which is rarely fatal, tends to show minor symptoms such as fever or joint pain.  It can also cause problems in pregnant women in the form of a serious birth defect which makes the baby’s head smaller and also has a smaller brain that may not have developed fully. Washington DC There are currently no vaccines for the virus, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allery and Infectious Diseases, told CBS news that the first phase of vaccine trials will begin in September, … READ MORE

Zika Virus in Virginia

Zika Virus in Virginia– Gov. McAuliffe  announced plans to create a task force to combat this after a VA resident was diagnosed with the disease after traveling abroad Since the first Virginia resident was diagnosed with the Zika Virus in January, local authorities have been on alert, implementing an action plan to equip Virginia residents and proper authorities with the knowledge and tools to keep the virus at bay. “Prevention and mitigation are our best strategies for keeping Virginians healthy,” Governor McAuliffe announced at a press conference in February. “The Virginia Department of Health’s mission to prevent the spread of infectious diseases makes it well-suited to lead this multi-agency task force. The collaboration of agencies statewide will be invaluable as we prepare for the coming mosquito season.” The Governor has been working since that press conference in February to organize a statewide task force with the help of the Virginia Department of Health. Virginia localities on mosquito surveillance and control programs were set to be created by May 1. There are now a confirmed 11 cases of Zika Virus in Virginia, all of them having contracted the disease from mosquito bites while traveling in areas with ongoing transmission. Zika Virus … READ MORE

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