mosquito-born diseases

Matti Parkkonen (Wikimedia Commons)

By Abe Aboraya

Florida travelers are catching serious mosquito-born diseases abroad, including dengue fever, chikungunya, malaria and Zika virus. Still, officials say the numbers are low and there’s no reason to panic. 

For the first time, scientists have demonstrated that a controversial new kind of genetic engineering can rapidly spread a self-destructive genetic modification through a complex species.

Bay County health officials are reporting an additional human case of the West Nile Virus. They’re urging residents to remain diligent in protecting themselves from mosquitoes.

Mosquito populations on the East Coast are 2 to 3 times larger than normal, according to an estimate by The National Pest Management Association. 

  The number of Zika cases in Florida has grown to 188—which includes 38 pregnant women who are being monitored by the state.

So far, all of those cases are travel-related. But public health officials are bracing for local outbreaks.

Florida Surgeon General Dr. Celeste Philip was in Fort Lauderdale Thursday to give a presentation on the state’s Zika plans to the Broward legislative delegation.

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.

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.

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.

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.