zika

Mosquito fish are 2.5-inch long native, freshwater fish that love munching on mosquito hatchlings.

On Saturday, March 27, Mosquito Control officials are giving out gambusia affinis to Hillsborough County residents for free.

Just this month Brazil—the country where experts say the Zika virus first arose—ended its nationwide health emergency related to the virus. The World Health Organization took a similar step in November. But as the summer mosquito season in Florida begins, the threat from Zika remains acute for South Florida and other parts of the world where the mosquitoes carrying the virus can be found.

Last year's Zika outbreak in Miami likely started in the spring of 2016, with the virus introduced multiple times before it was detected, researchers say. And most of those cases originated in the Caribbean.

WLRN

Last summer’s wave of local transmission of the Zika virus hasn’t yet bled into 2017 , but officials from Key West to West Palm Beach are gearing up for another round of mosquito control by creating new staff positions, adding more equipment and increasing outreach efforts.

Miami-Dade County plans to hire a full-time entomologist in its increasingly costly fight against the Zika virus.

Funding For State-Level Zika Tracking May End Soon

May 1, 2017
WMFE

Money that has helped states with Zika tracking and education may end by this summer, putting at risk efforts to better understand the mostly mosquito-borne virus and the devastating birth defects associated with it.

Here we go again.

A Senate panel approved a bill that authorizes an additional $100 million in grant funding to fight the mosquito-carrying Zika virus. The bill could now be voted on by the full Senate before summer begins, but only if Congress doesn’t repeat last year’s delay that saw the money tied up by political wrangling for months.

The money approved Tuesday would fund local mosquito-control efforts, centers that test for the virus and research into improving mosquito-control programs.

Doctors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are worried the Zika virus may be causing epilepsy. The findings are published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

As the rainy season returns to South Florida and the fight against Zika gears up, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District Tuesday began a first-in-Florida trial of a control method that uses bacteria to reduce mosquito populations.

The district will release 20,000 male mosquitoes infected with the Wolbachia bacteria twice a week for the next 12 weeks. The releases will take place in a 10-acre test site on Stock Island,  and mosquito traps there will be compared with a similar-sized control area nearby (but separated by a buffer).

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Health officials have published the first comprehensive view of Zika-linked birth defects occurring in the U.S.

The study is the largest so far to estimate the risk of severe birth defects from Zika infections in pregnant women, researchers report Wednesday in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,

Miami-Dade Outlines Aggressive Mosquito Control Plan

Apr 4, 2017

Officials say no disease-carrying mosquitoes have been found so far this year in the Miami area.

U.S. health officials have begun enrolling volunteers for critical next-stage testing of an experimental vaccine to protect against Zika, the mosquito-borne virus that can cause devastating birth defects in pregnant women.

Back in 2015, Brazil reported a horrific a surge in birth defects. Thousands of babies were born with brain damage and abnormally small heads, a condition called microcephaly.

Scientists quickly concluded the Zika virus was the culprit. So when Zika returned last year during Brazil's summer months of December, January and February — when mosquitoes are most active — health officials expected another surge in microcephaly cases.

But that never happened.

With the rainy season approaching and mosquitoes breeding at this time of year, Gov. Rick Scott and community leaders urged residents to remain aware and take necessary precautions against mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus.

At a community roundtable on Monday at the Department of Health in Miami, the governor stressed the importance of residents’ actions to help prevent Zika-related infections.

A small group of researchers at Florida Atlantic University is developing a small device that could help detect the Zika virus within just a few minutes and at a very low cost that could be available for use as early as next summer. 

Florida has the highest number of Zika-related cases--with Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County being among the most affected. The Centers for Disease and Control Prevention listed 5,040 virus cases in the United States in the last two years and 1,069 were in Florida. The majority of the cases reported were travel-related.

CDC: Don't Donate Sperm In 3 Counties Due To Zika

Mar 14, 2017

Men from three Florida counties shouldn't donate sperm because of a small risk of spreading Zika, U.S. health officials said Monday.

Phil Galewitz/Kaiser Health News

Miami-Dade County officials are monitoring four zones in the Miami area where the Zika virus spread through local mosquitoes.

Florida has not had any locally transmitted cases of Zika so far in 2017. And the number of travel-related cases has fallen drastically in the dry season.

But tests of new mosquito-fighting methods are still moving forward in the Florida Keys.

The first U.S. trial of genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes — the kind that carries Zika and dengue fever — is still on track for the Keys, just not on Key Haven. That's the island that Oxitec, the company that makes the genetically modified mosquito, chose for its test site.

Race To Find Zika Vaccine Could Hinge On Summer Outbreaks

Feb 23, 2017

As warmer temperatures arrive, researchers are working hard on several promising vaccines against Zika, a virus notorious for infecting humans through this mosquito’s bite.

Florida Department of Health

Hotel taxes revenue in Miami-Dade has dropped at a rate not seen since the Great Recession, a decline in public money some attribute to tourists afraid of the Zika virus.

Wikimedia Commons

The University of South Florida will use a $1.1 million dollar state grant for Zika research to look at how the virus infects fetuses.

Is Florida really at the bottom of the pack of states when it comes to paying for mental health care? And was Miami-Dade the first place to declare itself free of the Zika virus? WUSF's gets to the bottom of those claims with Allison Graves of PolitiFact Florida.

Despite a predicted slow down during the cooler winter season, the Zika virus continues plaguing Florida.

University of Miami doctors have published a case study about the first locally transmitted case of Zika in the United States. The patient was a 23-year-old pregnant women whose symptoms included a fever, joint pain and a rash. Her baby tested negative for the virus.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is saying the federal government is shortchanging the state when it comes to doling out money to fight the transmission of the Zika virus. WUSF's Steve Newborn talks with Katie Sanders of PolitiFact Florida to see if it's true.

Mosquito populations may be dropping with the temperature outside right now, and that means this is the right time to ramp up mosquito prevention efforts, says Dr. Uriel Kitron.

Wikimedia

Travelers to Cuba should bring lots of mosquito repellant -- not just for themselves.

The Zika virus is being spread by mosquitos in Cuba, so travelers are being told to bring bug spray to protect themselves.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are granting a team of Florida researchers $10 million to research Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases. University of Florida scientists will lead the regional research center, in collaboration with teams from the University of Miami, Florida International University, and the University of South Florida. 

WMFE

The University of Florida will lead a new research program focused on stopping diseases such as Zika from becoming widespread in the U.S.

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