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Zika infections thankfully below last year’s numbers   arrow

The Zika virus arrived in the United States last summer, with local transmission reported in and around Miami, FL, and Brownsville, TX.

The virus causes birth defects in babies born to some infected pregnant women, including microcephaly, where babies are born with underdeveloped heads and brain damage.
Zika has also been linked to Guillain-Barre syndrome, a condition in which the immune system attacks the nerves. It’s mainly spread through mosquitoes, although some cases of sexual transmission have been reported.

While Florida may have finally seen it’s first locally transmitted case of Zika for 2017, thankfully reported cases of Zika infection overall have plunged this year in the state, sparing it further declines in tourist traffic thanks to the virus.

This year, the state health department has reported one hudnred and eighty zika infections in Florida, a fraction of the one thousand, four hundred and fifty six reported throughout the entirity of last year.

State officials also have determined that Florida has no active zones with ongoing local transmission of the Zika virus.

A large majority of this year’s infections were brought to Florida by people who travel from Zika-transmission zones in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Year to date, the Florida Department of Health has reported 93 new Zika infections this year in tri-county South Florida, well behind the pace of last year, when the number of reported infections totaled 597.

The state health department also reported that the year-to-date number of pregnant women with the Zika infection is 101 statewide. The number last year totaled 299.

County-level mosquito control agencies and health departments have hosted community events to discuss such Zika-avoidance tips as using mosquito repellant and dumping standing water from flower pots and other small containers.