Fla. Sees Another Zika Case, But Overall Numbers Falling

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One new travel-related Zika case in Miami-Dade County was announced Tuesday by Florida Department of Health, bringing the total number of reported Zika cases in the state overall to 1,206.

But transmission of the disease which is largely attributed to mosquito bites appears to be slowing in the Sunshine State.

In November thus far, 103 new cases have been reported, according to figures from daily updates on the department’s website. For October, it was 155, September 252, and August 310.

Symptoms of the virus which has emerged as a problem for the U.S. this year from travelers returning from Latin America  include: headache, joint pain and rash, said Diana Rojas, a doctoral candidate in epidemiology at the University of Florida.

But “80 percent of infections are asymptomatic,” meaning no symptoms are shown, she said.

While anyone can contract the virus, the health department specifically warns that pregnant women should avoid the areas of Miami-Dade County where Zika prevalent, and it has been monitoring pregnant women regardless of symptoms, according to a news release from the department.

The fear is that the virus can break the placenta barrier that holds an unborn child and cause nerve and brain damage, Rojas said.

The total number of pregnant women in Florida being monitored is 170, the release said. All pregnant women in the Miami area are recommended to visit health care providers for additional ultrasounds.

But the department doesn’t foresee any widespread transmission, department spokeswoman Sarah Revell told WUFT News.

Corrections: This article been updated to more accurately reflect the areas that pregnant women are recommended to avoid, and to remove a portion incorrectly correlating rainfall with Zika increases attributed to Revell.

About Madison Belfour

Madison Belfour is a reporter for WUFT News and can be reached at 352-392-6397 or mbelfour@ufl.edu.

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