Zika now endemic in a trendy Miami neighborhood


Area in Miami, FL where Zika virus is being spread by mosquitoes.

Area in Miami, FL where Zika virus is being spread by mosquitoes. From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

America is under attack by an alien invader from South of the Border, an invisible enemy not Trumpian wall could have prevented.

It’s a stealth invader, carried by a common pest, and it poses a direct and tragic threat to families.

The Zika virus is finally here, established its first beachead in one of Miami’s trendiest neighborhoods.

From the Associated Press:

Government health officials are warning that pregnant women should avoid travel to a Zika-stricken part of Miami and urging expectant mothers who frequent the neighborhood to get tested for the virus, after the number of people feared infected through mosquito bites in the U.S. climbed to 14.

In a warning issued Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said men and women who have recently visited the area should wait at least eight weeks before trying to conceive a child.

Gov. Rick Scott asked Monday for a federal emergency response team to help the state combat the spread of the virus in the U.S.

Officials announced four cases on Friday, believed to be first people to contract the virus from mosquitoes within the 50 states. Ten more cases were announced Monday. The CDC’s emergency response team will help Florida officials in their investigation, sample collection and mosquito control efforts. The White House said the CDC team would be deployed to Florida “in short order.”

More from the Miami Herald:

The new cases in Miami, a major entry port for people traveling from countries and U.S. territories with active Zika transmission, triggered warnings from public health officials in England and elsewhere.

But for many people in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, which has burnished a reputation as an international arts destination over the past decade, news of the new local Zika cases came as a surprise.

“Now we understand why the cameras are here,” said Francisco Whilliams, 46, gesturing to the television vans down the street. It was his first time in Wynwood, strolling around with his wife, Kim, after a trip to the PaniQ Escape Room Miami, an entertainment venue in Wynwood. They live in Doral.

At Jucy Lu, a vegetarian restaurant in the heart of the affected area, employee Victoria Urrabarri said the owners told employees to wear lotion and insect repellent to work. But she felt that people in the neighborhood were not taking Zika seriously.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention followed up the announcement with advice to women:

The Florida Department of Health has identified an area in one neighborhood of Miami where Zika is being spread by mosquitoes. This guidance is for people who live in or traveled to this area any time after June 15 (based on the earliest time symptoms can start and the maximum 2-week incubation period for Zika virus).

Pregnant women and their partners

  • Pregnant women should not travel to this area.
  • Pregnant women and their partners living in or traveling to this area should follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.
  • Women and men who live in or traveled to this area and who have a pregnant sex partner should use condoms or other barriers to prevent infection every time they have sex or not have sex during the pregnancy.
  • All pregnant women in the United States should be assessed for possible Zika virus exposure during each prenatal care visit.
  • Pregnant women who live in or frequentlytravel to this area should be tested in the first and second trimester of pregnancy.
  • Pregnant women with possible Zika exposure and signs or symptoms of Zika should be tested for Zika.
  • Pregnant women who traveled to or had unprotected sex with a partner that traveled to or lives in this area should talk to their healthcare provider and should be tested for Zika.

Couples thinking about getting pregnant

  • Women with Zika should wait at least 8 weeks and men with Zika should wait at least 6 months after symptoms began to try to get pregnant.
  • Women and men who live in or frequently travel to this area should talk to their healthcare provider.
  • Women and men who traveled to this area should wait at least 8 weeks before trying to get pregnant.

The crisis continues elsewhere

Meanwhile, the crisis continues in nations where the disease is already well-established.

This chart from the latest Zika Situation Report from the World Health Organization totals known Zika-related birth defects:

BLOG Zika

A second WHO chart tracks the total number of Zika cases reported globally since the outbreak began in 2014:

Cumulative number of countries, territories and areas by WHO region [AFR=Africa, AMR=The Americas, WPR+the Ewestern Pacfic, SEA=Southeast Asia] reporting mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission in years [2007–2014], and monthly from 1 January 2015 to 27 July 2016.

Cumulative number of countries, territories and areas by WHO region [AFR=Africa, AMR=The Americas, WPR=The Western Pacific, SEA=Southeast Asia] reporting mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission in years [2007–2014], and monthly from 1 January 2015 to 27 July 2016.

Other Americans infected in their own neighborhoods

And while the Florida outbreak is raising a furor about the infection of American citizens, the Floridians aren’t the first to contract the ailment on American soil.

From the New York Times:

The Zika epidemic that has spread from Brazil to the rest of Latin America is now raging in Puerto Rico — and the island’s response is in chaos.

The war against the Aedes aegypti mosquito carrying the virus is sputtering out in failure. Infections are skyrocketing: Many residents fail to protect themselves against bites because they believe the threat is exaggerated.

Federal and local health officials are feuding, and the governor’s special adviser on Zika has quit in disgust.

There are only about 5,500 confirmed infections on the island, including of 672 pregnant women. But experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say they believe that is a radical undercount.

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