We begin and end today’s post with maps. First, from the Centers for Disease Control, the latest map of the extent of countries where cases of the virus have been contracted locally:
Countries and Territories in the Americas with Active Zika Virus Transmission
And we follow with another CDC map, this time showing U.S. cases, all contracted from travel abroad rather than locally, except in the case of Puerto Rico:
Laboratory-confirmed Zika virus disease cases reported to ArboNET by state or territory — United States, 2015–2016 [as of February 10, 2016]
While U.S. News & World Report
focus on the inevitable:
With Zika, U.S. Hospitals Head Into the Unknown
To get ahead of potential transmission in the U.S., hospitals are reminding their staffs to ask patients whether they have traveled recently, and they are working with public health officials to track where and how Zika is spreading. Mistakes of past epidemics are part of the conversation, and officials stress the importance of following protocols.
The Orlando Weekly covers a measure in the state with the most cases reported [20 as of Friday]:
State of Florida creates Zika Virus hotline to keep panic at bay
Gov. Rick Scott announced that there’s a new Zika Virus Hotline where people who are worried about Zika can call and talk to a real live person about what’s going on with the virus in the state.
Live Science covers the most-impacted U.S. territory:
30 Cases of Zika Now Confirmed in Puerto Rico
Healthcare workers have confirmed Zika virus infections in 30 people in Puerto Rico since November, according to a new report. The first locally transmitted case of Zika was reported there in late December.
From ABC News, another development:
Two US Women Miscarry After Zika Infection, CDC Says
CDC officials confirmed to ABC News that the women who miscarried were being monitored by their doctors after they were diagnosed with the Zika virus. In total, at least three women in the U.S. have been infected with Zika after returning from abroad with the virus.
From New York Times, clearing the decks for action:
Prepare for ‘Guerrilla Warfare’ With Zika-Carrying Mosquitoes, Experts Warn
Nearly a year after the first cases of Zika were diagnosed in Brazil, the virus, which is suspected to cause birth defects and other neurological problems, is bearing down on American shores. It is already in Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. There have been more than 50 cases of Americans infected abroad, and most experts believe that by summer, the continental United States will have some of its own homegrown cases, meaning that domestic mosquitoes will have the virus.
Next, the inevitable call for another czar, via the New York Daily News:
Sen. Chuck Schumer calls for ‘Zika czar’ to stop the spread of the mosquito-borne virus
Even though mosquito season is months away, Sen. Chuck Schumer called on the White House Friday to appoint a “Zika czar” who would help halt the virus’ spread.
Another precaution, from CNN:
Hawaii governor signs emergency proclamation on Zika, other illnesses
Gov. David Ige signed the declaration Friday as “a preventative measure” to guard against Zika, dengue fever and other diseases, his office said in a statement.
And from the Ottawa Sun, angst north of the U.S. border:
Could Zika come to Canada? Scientists don’t have an answer – yet
Canadian scientists, who were “blindsided” by the Zika virus outbreak in South and Central America, are scrambling to answer the question: could the virus come to Canada?
From Deutsche Welle, that ounce of prevention slowly approaches:
WHO: Zika vaccines at least ‘18 months’ away from testing
The World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned that it will be months before Zika vaccines are trial ready. The announcement came amid rising health concerns ahead of the Olympic games in Rio which start in August.
BBC News covers a Brazilian measure:
Zika virus: Brazil soldiers deployed to warn of risks
More than 200,000 soldiers have been deployed across Brazil to warn people about the risks of the Zika virus.
From CTV News, certainty asserted:
Brazil health minister ‘absolutely sure’ Zika linked to birth defects
Brazil’s health minister said Friday that authorities were “absolutely sure” that the Zika virus is connected to devastating birth defects and rejected criticism that the government was slow to investigate the surge of cases that set off international alarms.
The Washington Post has a related development:
Brazil reports explosion of dengue, a bad omen for spread of Zika virus
Brazil on Friday reported a nearly 50 percent jump in cases of dengue fever reported over a three-week period in January, a worrying finding because the disease is carried by the same mosquito that spreads the Zika virus.
And a mortality report from BuzzFeed News:
3 Zika Deaths In Venezuela
Although the Zika virus normally causes only mild symptoms, Venezuela is reporting hospitalizations and three deaths as the virus linked to birth defects spreads
BBC News covers alarms:
Colombia: A nation in panic over Zika
Colombia is one of the countries at the front line of the Zika crisis. It has also seen an alarming number of cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome – which can cause devastating paralysis. Scientists are cautious of making a direct connection between the two, but on the frontline the panic is real – and growing.
Another development from Fox News Latino:
Honduras reports 1st case of Zika-linked birth defect
The director of the Gabriela Alvarado Hospital in the eastern city of Danli, Dr. Gonzalo Maradiago, told reporters that the baby was born at 3 a.m.
The bad seed, via PBS NewsHour:
Zika virus may persist in semen for months, scientists say
British researchers have reported the case of a man whose semen tested positive for Zika virus 62 days after the onset of his illness. It is the second report of the virus being found in semen. In addition, there have been two cases where sexual transmission of Zika virus is thought to have occurred.
Another hopeful development, this time from Time:
Commercially Available Test for Zika Virus Only Weeks Away, WHO Says
Only a select few labs can currently test for Zika and a commercial test would improve the ability of researchers to track the disease’s spread. Ten biotech companies and 10 other companies are at various stages of developing such a test, according to WHO.
And the not unexpected, via the Christian Post:
Church Leaders Reject UN’s Call to Increase Abortions to Combat Zika Virus
Roman Catholic Church leaders in Latin American countries dealing with the outbreak of the Zika virus are pushing back against groups that are promoting abortion for women who are pregnant.
Finally, from Travel Weekly, that last map — and note that the disease is now present in a Mexican state not far from the Texas border:
Mexico draws map indicating location of Zika cases
In an effort to help travelers understand precisely where in Mexico cases of the Zika virus have been found — and that they are not in the country’s traditional resort areas — the Mexico Tourism Board on Friday released a map indicating where Zika has been reported.
And here’s the map: