First travel-related Zika case in Nassau County

Emily Cason, an epidemiologist with the Florida Department of Health-Nassau County confirmed Tuesday that one case of travel-related Zika virus infection has been reported in Nassau County. Because of health record confidentiality, Cason could not say where the person lives.

Asked what steps the FDOH-Nassau County is taking to treat the person, Cason said there is a protocol that has been established by the state.

“Locally, what we are trying to do is make sure people are aware that it is mosquito season, and there’s West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses to be aware of,” Cason warned.

According to the FDOH, as of Monday, there were “seven new travel-related cases today including two in Miami-Dade, two in Palm Beach, one in Nassau and two involving pregnant women. This is Nassau County’s first travel-related case and the Declaration of Public Health Emergency has been amended to include the county.”

The FDOH recommends residents dump standing water from all outdoor containers, like garbage cans and pool covers, and ensure gutters are draining properly and screens are fixed to prevent mosquitoes from entering the home. Pet bowls and birdbaths should be cleaned at least twice a week. If going outdoors, the FDOH recommends covering skin, using repellents and taking all steps necessary to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced Sept. 9 that it has detected Zika in another mosquito sample from the same small area in Miami Beach where it was announced on Sept. 1 that three other samples had tested positive for Zika.

All samples have consisted of Aedes aeqypti mosquitoes and are from an area where increased trapping and intensified mosquito control measures have already been underway since the Florida Department of Health determined local transmission had occurred.

“Pregnant women are advised to avoid non-essential travel to the impacted area in Miami-Dade,” according to the FDOH website.

There were 616 reported cases of travel-acquired Zika cases in Florida as of Sept. 9. There have been 56 cases of non-travel infection and 84 instances involving pregnant women.

The FDOH only reports cases of Zika in Florida residents. Last week the FDOH told the Miami Herald that eight residents of other states have contracted Zika in Florida.

The U.S. Congress has failed to pass a funding bill needed to speed up research and control of the Zika virus, which causes a severe brain defect in unborn children called microcephaly or “tiny head” syndrome and causes Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults, which can be crippling as well as deadly.

There is no vaccine for Zika and no cure.

Mosquitoes, sexual contact with someone infected and contact with infected blood can transmit the virus to humans.

Some emergency funds from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been released, but the amount needed is not enough and not soon enough to stop the spread.

There have been 24 sexually transmitted cases reported in the U.S. so far.

“The fact that we have identified a fourth Zika-positive mosquito pool in Miami Beach serves as further confirmation that we must continue our proactive and aggressive approach to controlling the mosquito population, including our recent decision to begin aerial spraying in combination with larvicide treatment by truck,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “We will continue to work in close collaboration with the health and environmental experts and the City of Miami Beach to keep our community safe from the Zika virus.”


On Friday the US Department of Health and Human Services issued the following update to national Zika statistics:

Zika Case Count: As of September 7, there were more than 18,800 confirmed cases of Zika virus in U.S. states and territories. In addition, there have been 38 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome in the U.S. and U.S. territories.

For a state-by-state table of Zika cases in the U.S. visit: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/united-states.html

For regular updates on Zika in Florida: www.floridahealth.gov/newsroom/index.html.

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