Health Care

New Zika record: 11 cases in Florida identified in one day

How Zika spreads (and who’s to blame)

The mosquito kills nearly 750,000 people each year. Malaria is the cause for the majority of these deaths, but a Zika outbreak has the Americas scared of this insect. This is how the insect spreads disease to its victims.
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The mosquito kills nearly 750,000 people each year. Malaria is the cause for the majority of these deaths, but a Zika outbreak has the Americas scared of this insect. This is how the insect spreads disease to its victims.

Florida health officials on Wednesday confirmed 11 new Zika infections in six counties, including Lake County, which reported its first case this year. In total, 263 people in Florida have contracted the Zika virus since January, though only 28 are still exhibiting symptoms, according to the health department.

The shadow of Zika has grown longer in Florida over the past week, with the health department reporting increasing numbers of infections and the state’s first baby with a birth defect caused by the virus. The silver lining for Florida: none of the Zika cases confirmed so far have been transmitted locally by mosquitoes.

As the number of Zika cases in Florida rises, and Congress fails to act on President Obama’s request for an emergency appropriation of $1.9 billion to combat the spread of the virus, Florida Gov. Rick Scott issued an executive order on June 23 to spend up to $26.2 million in state funds to prepare and respond to the disease.

Pregnant women and their children are considered to be at greatest risk from the disease. Researchers have concluded that prenatal Zika infection can cause microcephaly and other brain disorders. According to the health department, there are 43 pregnant women in Florida who have contracted the virus this year.

Miami-Dade County workers search communities to identify mosquito-breeding grounds and curb the potential spread of the Zika virus and other mosquito-related illnesses.

There is no vaccine or specific medical therapy for Zika, which causes symptoms including fever, joint pain, red eyes and rash lasting seven to 10 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only one in five people who acquire the disease show symptoms, however.

Zika virus is primarily spread by the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquito species but also can be transmitted by blood transfusions and by men to their sexual partners.

Zika cases reported in Florida as of July 6

County

Number of Cases

Alachua

4

Brevard

4

Broward

37

Charlotte

1

Citrus

2

Clay

2

Collier

3

Duval

5

Escambia

1

Highlands

1

Hillsborough

6

Lake

1

Lee

6

Martin

1

Miami-Dade

72

Okaloosa

1

Orange

21

Osceola

10

Palm Beach

12

Pasco

4

Pinellas

6

Polk

6

Santa Rosa

1

Seminole

9

St. Johns

2

Volusia

2

Total cases not involving pregnant women

220

Cases involving pregnant women regardless of symptoms*

43

* Counties of pregnant women not disclosed.

Source: Florida Department of Health

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