mosquito-borne disease

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The number of reported Zika cases in Florida this year has increased to 80, while a baby has been born with a condition known as congenital Zika syndrome, according to newly updated information from the state Department of Health. 

Monday the Florida Department of Health in Duval County announced the confirmation of another new human case of the West Nile Virus infection in Jacksonville.

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.

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While the number is down from the past two years, Florida has had 59 reported cases of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in 2018, according to a state Department of Health website.

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A recently published study suggests medicine used to kill fleas and ticks in household pets might be effective at stopping mosquito-borne outbreaks in humans. 

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.

  

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

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.

  Gov. Rick Scott has declared a health emergency in five Florida counties with a dozen confirmed cases of the travel-acquired Zika virus: Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Lee and Santa Rosa.

Long before this most recent outbreak, mosquito control officers across Florida have been on the front lines, trying to keep at bay diseases such as Zika, chikungunya and dengue. 

Mario Stevenson is a respected virus expert. He heads the infectious diseases division at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine. He’s done pioneering research on HIV.

But until last year he’d barely registered Zika.

“Four months ago,” Stevenson told me, “I thought Zika was an Italian football player.”

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Hillsborough County has confirmed its first case of West Nile Virus in a human this year.

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The Florida Department of Health confirmed a case of the West Nile Virus, a mosquito-borne disease, in Volusia County Wednesday.

  Health officials are expecting more cases, and warn residents to get rid of standing water and wear protective clothing.

Most West Nile Virus infections are mild, but about one percent of cases can cause permanent neurological damage, paralysis and even death. There is no treatment or vaccine for the virus.

Florida had 69 cases of West Nile Virus in 2012.

In the fight against mosquitoes in the Florida Keys, domestic inspector Carrie Atwood has a few indispensable tools. She carries a dipper — essentially, a plastic cup at the end of a stick. She has a flashlight for looking into the backs of plants and pots. And she has a turkey baster.

"That's good for getting into bromeliads, which is a plant that holds water at the base of the leaf," Atwood said. "We use that to dip in there or just any other kind of tight space where the dipper won't go."

The FDA is considering whether to approve the experimental use of genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys to help stop the spread of dengue fever and other diseases. Mosquito control officials in the region say they hope to get approval to begin releasing the insects in the Keys as soon as this spring.

There are few places in the United States where mosquito control is as critical as the Florida Keys. In this southernmost county of the continental U.S., mosquitoes are a year-round public health problem and controlling them is a top priority.