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Zika Update

Adedes aegypti feeding on arm
Aedes aegypti feeding
Photo by By James Gathany, via Wikimedia Commons

Zika Status as of 16 September 2016

Here is the latest information on Zika virus:

  • There are now two areas in Miami-Dade county, FL with local transmission of Zika, meaning people (71 at last count) are getting the disease from Aedes mosquito bites in their own neighborhood, not from travel or sexual transmission. In addition, three U.S. territories have local transmission.
  • ULV aerial spraying with the organophosphate naled in Miami-Dade county has been met with some resistance.
  • Naled has been safely used to control mosquitoes since the 1950s and is spayed on about 16 million acres annually, including FL cities. CDC recommends an IPM approach that includes monitoring, larviciding, ground spraying, and aerial spraying.
  • In the U.S. there have been 3,176 reported Zika infections, almost all as a result of travel to Zika countries, with 26 being sexually transmitted and 71 FL cases being locally acquired. One elderly man has died from Zika virus.
  • Zika cases have been documented from 48 of the 50 states plus D.C. Half of all cases have been reported from four states: New York (22%), Florida (19%), California (7%), and Texas (6%).
  • There are presently 731 pregnant women identified in the U.S. with evidence of Zika. Zika can affect a fetus causing microcephaly, a traumatic brain defect. Eighteen babies have been born in the U.S. with Zika-related birth defects and 5 have miscarried or been aborted because of severe defects.
  • Zika can be passed through sex even if a male or female does not have symptoms at the time, and can be transmitted through sex by a person who carries the virus but has never developed symptoms. Consequently, the World Health Organization recommends abstinence or safe sex for 6 months after visiting a Zika area.
  • There are new indications that Zika may be present in eyes and could be spread by tears. Zika can be found in blood, urine, saliva, semen, and vaginal secretions. FDA has advised Zika screening of all blood donations in the U.S.
  • Meanwhile...federal agencies have already run out of funding to fight Zika and are borrowing from other projects. The fiscal year ends Sept. 30, but Congress has failed to authorize new funding. The House and Senate are battling over the proposed $1.1 billion package, in part because Planned Parenthood clinics would receive a portion of the bill's allotment.
  • Peak mosquito season in much of the U.S. lasts through the end of October or until temperatures are consistently below 50º F. (10º C.). Aedes mosquitoes typically overwinter in the egg stage but can remain active year round in Florida.



Guidelines to Protect Technicians from Zika Virus

Technician applying a spay repellent to arm

Protect any exposed skin

Photo NPIC

To help protect yourself from Zika virus, take the following precautions:

  • Check the CDC Zika website ( to know whether you are working in a Zika-affected area, and for a wealth of other updated Zika information.
  • Wear lightweight, loose-fittting clothing that covers hands, arms, legs, and other exposed skin. Wear socks that cover ankles and lower legs.
  • Use permethrin repellent on clothing or wear permethrin-impregnated clothing. In some cases, hats with mosquito netting may be necessary to protect face and neck from mosquitoes.
  • Always use insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin. Reapply repellent as necessary. The more active ingredient, the longer the repellent will last. A product with 23.8% DEET will last about 5 hours.
  • Because Zika can also be transmitted through blood and bodily fluids, take the usual precautions for bloodborne pathogens when working in medical facilities or similar sites where you could have such exposure.
  • Because Zika can be sexually transmitted, pregnant workers or spouses of women who are or may be pregnant should reconsider outdoor assignments in areas where Zika virus is actively transmitted.



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