zika

Congress On Vacation With No Zika Plan Passed

May 30, 2016

Lawmakers and advocates are disappointed Congress is on vacation, leaving town without passing a Zika response plan.

Federal officials are all but certain there will be a Zika outbreak this summer.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, explained, “In the next couple of months as we approach the very active mosquito season, we project that we will see local outbreaks of Zika particularly in the Gulf Coast area around Florida Texas and other states.”

WMFE

Florida has less than half of the special traps that will be part of the frontline for detecting the Zika virus in mosquitoes because of a backlog at the manufacturer, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Thursday.

Researchers Slowly Homing In On Risk Of Zika Birth Defect

May 26, 2016

As the international epidemic of Zika virus disease has unfolded and led to devastating birth defects for at least 1,300 children in eight countries, an agonizing question has persisted: What is the chance that an infected pregnant woman will have a baby with these defects?

Over the weekend, the number of Zika cases reported by The Department of Health that involve pregnant women in Florida quadrupled. Health experts say that’s not because of an increase in cases, but due to a change in the information the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention is providing.

Alan Diaz / Associated Press Photo

A summer flu seemed to be sweeping through Rachel Heid's riverfront neighborhood. Pale and shaky, she left work with a fever. Neighbors had the same symptoms, and a contractor at her home felt so sick he went to the hospital.

Albuminarium

The number of pregnant women in Florida with the Zika virus climbed from nine to 36 following new federal guidelines outlining how the cases will be counted.

A British biotech company wants to release genetically modified mosquitos in Florida to slow the spread of the Zika virus. The fate of the program rests with the small community of Key Haven, and many residents are skeptical.

"It's up to you," said a 1945 public service announced aimed at Americans. Find "one of man's worst enemies" and "destroy their foxholes."

The video came from the Office of Malaria Control in War Areas (now known as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). And it was talking about a particular species of mosquito, Aedes aegypti — the very same mosquito in the news now. Back then, public health officials were mostly worried about dengue and yellow fevers.

While Congress fidgets over whether and how to pay for the fight against the Zika virus, state and local health departments are scrambling and slimming down.

That's because these front-line public health agencies have already seen their budgets chopped because of the debate.

House Passes $622 Million Bill To Fight Zika

May 19, 2016

House Republicans on Wednesday pushed through a $622 million bill to battle the Zika virus, setting up challenging negotiations with the Senate and the White House.

Muhammad Mahdi Karim / Wikimedia Commons

The Zika pandemic has gotten people talking about mosquito control.

But humans aren’t the only ones affected by mosquito-borne diseases in South Florida.

It's official. Zika has come to Florida.

Four people caught the virus in a small neighborhood north of downtown Miami, Governor Rick Scott said Friday. That means mosquitoes in the neighborhood became infected with Zika and spread it.

There’s been a lot of talk about Zika this week and how Congress could help combat the mosquito-borne disease through funding. Florida Governor Rick Scott and other stakeholders even traveled to Washington D.C., hoping a deal could be struck to fund the effort. So far, there are a number of proposals already on the table, including a bipartisan effort by Florida’s two Senators.

A $1.1 billion deal may be on the table to help combat the Zika virus in Congress. But, it falls short of President Obama’s $1.9 billion request. Now, two Florida Senators say they’re working on a bipartisan deal that accomplishes that goal.

When Zika Hits, A Push For Birth Control And Abortion?

May 12, 2016
Eric Gay/Associated Press / Associated Press Photo

There's little doubt: Zika is coming to the continental United States, bringing frightening birth defects — and, most likely, newly urgent discussions about abortion and contraception.

  While Florida is focusing on the prospect of the Zika virus getting a foothold in the state, the focus in the Florida Keys is on Aedes aegypti, the mosquitoes that carry the disease.

  

  Pinellas County has its first reported case of Zika virus, the Florida Department of Health said on Monday.

Mosquito Season Brings No Urgency For Money To Fight Zika

May 9, 2016
Ricardo Mazalan/Associated Press / Associated Press Photo

The White House and Democrats are pressuring congressional Republicans to act on President Barack Obama's demands for money to combat Zika, but even the onset of mosquito season that probably will spread the virus has failed to create a sense of urgency.

Bio-tech company Oxitec wants to use genetically modified mosquitos to stop the spread of the Zika virus. Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson is calling for support of the plan.

Major League Baseball says it is moving a two-game series later this month from Puerto Rico to Miami due to players' concerns about the Zika virus.

NPR's Greg Allen tells our Newscast unit that the series pitting the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Miami Marlins was meant to honor Hall of Fame outfielder Roberto Clemente, who was from Puerto Rico. Here's more from Greg:

Rattikankeawpun (freedigitalphotos.net)

Florida agriculture officials are distributing mosquito traps to areas that lack surveillance for the species that carries the Zika virus.

Commissioner Adam Putnam announced Thursday that the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services held workshops in seven counties over the last two weeks for mosquito control and health officials.

At least two Florida Republicans in Congress have broken with their party and are calling on the GOP leadership to approve $1.9 billion in emergency funding to fight the Zika virus.

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a Democrat, said her fellow Floridians, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep.Vern Buchanan, understand the virus is a threat to the state’s top industry – tourism.

Florida's governor says the U.S. government needs to prepare for the Zika virus like it's a hurricane.

 

Gov. Rick Scott was in Fort Myers on Friday, talking about Zika virus preparations in the state. Zika is linked to deformities in unborn babies. It’s a mosquito-borne virus, but Florida’s more than 90 cases are so far only travel-related. The governor said he’s ready for the possibility of Zika-infected mosquitoes to cross over state lines.

WMFE

Puerto Rico announced Friday that it has recorded the first Zika-related U.S. death amid an outbreak of the mosquito-borne virus in the U.S. territory.

While Florida has about a quarter of the almost 400 reported cases of Zika in the United States, no one has been infected in Florida. But that's not stopping local public health experts from advising people to protect themselves.

Billy Ryan visits Roy's Trailer Park on Florida's Stock Island every two months. It's part of his regular rounds as an inspector for the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District.

"Hey, I'm just checking on the yards for the mosquito control," he tells one resident, Marie Baptiste, as he heads into her yard. "OK?" No problem, she tells him.

AP

Players from the Miami Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates have expressed concerns about their two-game series next month in Puerto Rico because of the Zika virus.

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