Saturday November 16, 2019

Florida Declares New Zika Transmission Zone In Miami After Five Local Cases

The Zika virus was first detected in Brazil last year and has since spread across the Americas

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FILE - A Miami-Dade mosquito control inspector sprays a chemical mist into a storm drain in Miami Beach, Florida, Aug. 23, 2016. (VOA)

Miami, October 17, 2016: Florida officials have identified a small neighborhood in Miami that contains mosquitoes that have spread the Zika virus to humans.

The area spans about 2.6 square kilometers in the northwestern part of the city.

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday that two women and three men have been infected by the virus in the neighborhood.

Zika infections have been reported in more than 1,020 people in Florida. Most caught it while traveling outside the U.S., but 155 cases are not travel related.

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This summer, Florida became the first state in the continental United States to report the local spread of Zika when a cluster of cases was discovered in the arts district of Wynwood, north of downtown.

That area has since been declared clear of any mosquitoes that might be spreading Zika, and health authorities have credited aerial insecticide spraying for eliminating the infected mosquitoes.

Scott said the announcement of the new area of transmission underscores the “urgent need” for federal funding to fight the virus, adding that the state still has not received any of the funding that was approved by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama two weeks ago.

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The Zika virus was first detected in Brazil last year and has since spread across the Americas. It is particularly dangerous to pregnant women because it can cause birth defects such as microcephaly, in which babies are born with unusually small heads and deformed brains.(VOA)

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FDA Gives Market Authorisation For Zika Diagnostic Test

A Zika diagnostic test developed by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis was newly granted market authorisation

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Zika, Virus, Test
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen in a mosquito cage at a laboratory in Cucuta, Colombia,Feb. 11, 2016. VOA

A Zika diagnostic test developed by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis was newly granted market authorisation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

According to a press release posted on the website of the university on Wednesday, using an antibody as well as other components to detect anti-Zika antibodies in the blood of people recently infected with the virus, the test can detect signs of Zika infection in serum samples within 12 weeks of infection, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Zika, Virus, Test
Scientists develop nanotechnology based test that detects Zika virus. Wikimedia Commons

The test is not meant to be used as a stand-alone proof of infection. The FDA recommends that the test be used only for people with symptoms of recent infection, as well as a history of living in or travelling to geographic regions where Zika circulates. Positive results should be confirmed in accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Zika virus can cause babies to be born with devastating brain damage. But the signs of Zika infection in adults: rash, fever, headache and body aches, are nonspecific, so a pregnant woman who develops such symptoms can’t be sure if she has contracted Zika or something less risky for her fetus.

“This test, along with another that detects viral genetic material at very early stages of infection, will help women and their doctors make informed health-care decisions,” said Michael S. Diamond, a co-inventor of the technology that underlies the test and a professor of molecular microbiology and of pathology and immunology at Washington University.  (IANS)