zika

Sen. Nelson Calls For More Zika Funding

Apr 21, 2016

Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson is calling on Congress to approve Zika response funding.

The Zika virus has prompted Orange and Seminole counties to add mosquito control staff.

The news is constantly changing about the Zika virus. Federal funding and prevention efforts have been a huge part of the discussion this week. And, with Florida leading the nation with close to 90 cases of the mosquito-borne disease, the state’s congressional leaders say it’s even more crucial that something is done.

Abe Aboraya / Health News Florida

Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said places where Zika virus is being caught locally should not accept blood donations until there’s a test.

And just like that, the island commonwealth of Puerto Rico was in a pinch, needing to look elsewhere. Orlando-based OneBlood was one of three blood bank networks in the U.S. helping out.

Highlighting Florida State University’s research efforts, North Florida Congresswoman Gwen Graham is calling on Congress to fully fund similar home grown efforts to combat the Zika virus.

After months of hesitation, U.S. health officials now say that the Zika virus is indeed the cause of severe brain damage in the infants of some women who were infected with the virus during pregnancy.

A CDC review published online Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine describes evidence of what U.S. health officials now call a causal relationship between the virus and a severe form of microcephaly and intracranial calcifications.

The more researchers learn about the Zika virus, the scarier it appears, federal health officials say, as they urge more money for mosquito control and development of vaccines and treatments.

While the FDA has released a preliminary finding of no significant impact from a proposed test of genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys, many in the neighborhood where the test would take place are opposed to the plan.

Oxitec, the company that makes the genetically modified version of aedes aegypti, is holding two public meetings in Key West this week to answer questions from the public, especially those in Key Haven. That neighborhood, a peninsula about five miles from Key West, is the proposed testing site.

COURTESY BRAZILIAN MINISTRY OF HEALTH

Brazil’s Ministry of Health has come up with quite the catchy Zika virus tune.

State health officials reported three new cases of the Zika virus in Florida, one of them a pregnant woman.

David Goldman/Associated Press / Associated Press Photo

The government urged health officials around the country Friday to get ready now in case there are outbreaks of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in the U.S. this summer.

Arnulfo Franco/Associated Press / Associated Press Photo

Federal health officials are granting use of an experimental test to screen blood donations for Zika virus, an emergency step designed to protect local blood supplies from the mosquito-borne virus.

Officials: Zika-Infected Couples Should Postpone Pregnancy

Mar 28, 2016

Federal health officials on Friday issued first-time guidance for couples planning a pregnancy if either partner may have been exposed to Zika, the tropical disease linked to birth defects.

It's just before dawn in Piracicaba, a small city in southeastern Brazil, when a large white van pulls over to the side of the road. A door slides open, revealing stacks of crates jammed with plastic pots. Each pot is buzzing with mosquitoes.

"There's about 1,000 mosquitoes in each of those pots," says Guilherme Trivellato, who works for Oxitec, a biotech company that owns the van. All together, there are more than 300,000 mosquitoes swarming inside those pots.

"That's how many we're going to release today," he says.

As scientists struggle to understand the threat posed by Zika virus, there's another viral infection that's a known danger in pregnancy and that harms 100,000 babies a year, even though it has been preventable with a vaccine since 1969.

The disease is rubella, or German measles. Like Zika, the rubella virus often causes either a mild rash or no symptoms at all.

Matthew Peddie/WMFE / WMFE

The U.S. Senate has passed a bill encouraging companies to develop a Zika vaccine.

Companies that develop a Zika vaccine would get fast-track FDA approval of their next venture in the future. That would be done through a voucher program.

A field trial releasing genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys would not harm humans or the environment, according to documents released Friday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Things To Know About GMO Mosquito Test Proposed In Florida

Mar 15, 2016
Andre Penner, File / AP Photo

The spread of the Zika virus in Latin America is giving a boost to a British biotech firm's proposal to deploy a genetically modified mosquito to try to stop transmission of the disease.

  

A genetically engineered mosquito could stop the Zika virus from spreading. 

Florida has its first confirmed case of sexually-transmitted Zika virus.

Florida added two more cases of Zika Wednesday in Polk County. One was caught by a person who was traveling in Puerto Rico, but the other person caught the virus by sexual transmission. Because of patient confidentiality, officials can’t say if the two are related.

Florida is up to 50 cases of Zika virus, including six in Central Florida.

CDC: Zika Infections Confirmed In 9 Pregnant Women In US

Feb 29, 2016
James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Zika infections have been confirmed in nine pregnant women in the United States, including one who gave birth to a baby with a rare birth defect, health officials said Friday.

Three pregnant Florida women have contracted the Zika virus, according to the Florida Department of Health. Researchers are studying possible links between Zika in pregnant women and birth defects in babies.

2 More U.S. Cases Of Zika Virus Likely Shared Via Sex

Feb 23, 2016

Health officials announced Tuesday that they are investigating 14 new U.S. cases of possible sexual transmission of the Zika virus.

The virus was confirmed to be in blood samples from two women, using a method that detects pieces of the virus' genetic material, say doctors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Obama Sends Congress $1.9B Request To Combat Zika Virus

Feb 23, 2016
WMFE

President Barack Obama Monday sent lawmakers an official $1.9 billion request to combat the spread of the Zika virus in Latin America and the U.S.

There are 26 travel-related Zika cases in Florida, according to the latest information from the Florida Department of Health.

Central Florida is now up to three Zika cases. The virus has shown up in Brevard, Osceola and Orange counties. 

On Thursday, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Brevard County’s first Zika case. The virus was caught while traveling to Haiti.

Two weeks ago, Jenny Tolosa found out she was pregnant.

The 23-year-old had no idea. "I didn't have any symptoms," she says. "I totally didn't expect this." She giggles, because she was excited by the news.

But she was also worried. She says her first thought was, "I think I had Zika last December!"

That's the mosquito-borne virus that's spreading through Latin America — and has been linked to the birth defect microcephaly, which causes an abnormally small head and possible brain damage.

CDC Briefs Florida Doctors As Zika Cases Rise

Feb 15, 2016
WMFE

Amid an increase of travel-related Zika cases in Florida, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention briefed Florida health care providers on the virus.

Study Finds Zika Virus In Fetal Brain, A Clue In Outbreak

Feb 11, 2016
Susan Walsh/Associated Press

New details about the possible effects of the Zika virus on the fetal brain emerged Wednesday as U.S. health officials say mosquito eradication here and abroad is key to protect pregnant women until they can develop a vaccine.

When Carolyn Coyne's lab at the University of Pittsburgh recently tried to order a sample of Zika virus from a major laboratory supplier, they were told it was out of stock.

"They are actually back-ordered until July for the virus," Coyne says. "At least that's what we were told." She ended up obtaining Zika from another source, and it arrived at her lab Tuesday.

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