Saturday, February 27, 2016

Number of Florida Zika Cases Double In February

Florida Map of Zika Virus Cases
Map of Florida counties where Zika cases have been detected. Credit: Brevard Times


The number of Zika cases reported in Florida have nearly tripled in February from 14 cases on Feb. 5 to 37 cases on Feb. 26.  Three of those cases involved pregnant women who contracted the Zika virus.

According to Florida Surgeon General Dr. Armstrong’s Zika virus report for February 26, 2016, two new Zika cases were confirmed with one in Broward County and one in Miami-Dade County. Over half of all Florida Zika virus cases (19 out of 37) have been located in those two counties.


After learning of the three pregnant women in Florida who tested positive for Zika virus after traveling from outside the U.S., Governor Rick Scott requested the U.S. Center for Disease Control to send 250 additional Zika antibody tests to the Sunshine State.

The Zika virus is spread by bites from two mosquito species: Aedes aegypti (primarily) and Aedes albopictus, both found in Florida. Although local transmissions have not occurred in the Sunshine State, local transmissions are possible if a Zika infected visitor or returning traveler is bitten by Florida mosquitoes that then spread the virus to other people they bite.  In addition to the Zika virus, Aedes aegypti mosquitoes can also transmit dengue feverChikungunya virusWest Nile virus, and Yellow Fever.

Aedes aegypti mosquito
Aedes aegypti mosquito. Credit: University of Florida Entomology & Nematology
According to the CDC, babies born with the Zika virus transmitted from their mothers who contracted the disease while pregnant have developed microcephaly - a disease which causes the babies' brains and heads to shrink. Maternal-fetal transmission of Zika virus has been documented throughout pregnancy and pregnant women can be infected with Zika virus in any trimester.

Florida Governor Rick Scott directed the State Surgeon General to activate a Zika Virus Information Hotline for current Florida residents and visitors, as well as anyone planning on traveling to Florida in the near future. The number for the Zika Virus Information Hotline is 1-855-622-6735.

Florida counties where the Zika virus has been detected as of February 26, 2016:


County
Number of Cases (all travel related)
Alachua
1
Brevard
1
Broward
5
Hillsborough
3
Lee
3
Miami-Dade
14
Orange
3
Osceola
1
Santa Rosa
1
Seminole
1
St. Johns
1
Cases involving pregnant women*
3
Total
37