Zika threat remains in Florida one year on

World Today

Zika threat remains in Florida one year on

A year ago, the World Health Organization declared Zika a public health emergency. The first locally transmitted case of the mosquito-borne virus in the continental U.S. was confirmed in Miami and concern spread across parts of the country.

CGTN’s Nitza Soledad Perez reports.

Zika threat remains in Florida one year on

Zika threat remains in Florida one year on

A year ago, the World Health Organization declared Zika a public health emergency. The first locally transmitted case of the mosquito-borne virus in the continental U.S. was confirmed in Miami and concern spread across parts of the country. CGTN’s Nitza Soledad Perez reports.

The Zika outbreak put South Florida in the spotlight on February 2016. The Zika threat is not over yet. Health experts anticipate another outbreak this summer in Florida.

Health officials with the Centers for Disease Control said if a pregnant woman is infected with Zika in any trimester, the virus can cause serious birth defects and other developmental problems later on. Zika can also be transmitted sexually in addition to being carried by mosquitoes.

All this led the CDC to issue a historic travel warning to several Miami neighborhoods, including South Beach and Wynwood. Pregnant women and their sexual partners were cautioned to stay away a warning that did not go over well with some businesses.

More than 13,000 Zika cases were reported in Florida last year. Of those cases, three babies were born with abnormalities related to a Zika infection. So far, only a handful of infections have been documented during the first month of this year, in part because mosquitoes do not reproduce in colder temperatures.

Though travel warnings were lifted, locals still do not agree on the severity of the 2016 outbreak and how it was all managed.

But authorities and health officials are not taking a risk. Genetically-modified mosquitoes that could reduce the rate of reproduction are already being tested in parts of Florida and education is still the key.