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FGCU Virologists Chart Links between Zika, Dengue, and other Mosquito-borne Illnesses

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Photo: Pixabay via Public Domain
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

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.

Known for decades but rarely tracked due to its mild symptoms, the Zika virus took hold of public attention last year when it was revealed the virus could have catastrophic impacts on the children of infected mothers.

Florida saw more than 1,000 people contract the Zika virus last year, including 285 locally-transmitted cases. Already in 2017 more than 40 people have contracted the virus, with confirmed cases in Collier, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties. The CDC still cautions pregnant women from traveling in South Florida.

Discussing their research into Zika and related viruses like dengue fever, FGCU virologists  Dr. Sharon Isern and Dr. Scott Michael join the show to discuss how similar mosquito-borne viruses interact with Zika.

They’ll also explain research that tracked the transmission of the virus from its emergence and rapid expansion in Brazil, to Puerto Rico and other Caribbean and Central American countries, and eventually to South Florida and the continental US.

Copyright 2020 WGCU. To see more, visit WGCU.

Matthew Smith is a reporter and producer of WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live.
Julie Glenn is the host of Gulf Coast Live. She has been working in southwest Florida as a freelance writer since 2007, most recently as a regular columnist for the Naples Daily News. She began her broadcasting career in 1993 as a reporter/anchor/producer for a local CBS affiliate in Quincy, Illinois. After also working for the NBC affiliate, she decided to move to Parma, Italy where she earned her Master’s degree in communication from the University of Gastronomic Sciences. Her undergraduate degree in Mass Communication is from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.