Health Care

First Zika case confirmed in the Keys

This is the mosquito that carries Zika.
This is the mosquito that carries Zika. Contributed

Monroe County health officials on Tuesday confirmed a case of travel-related Zika, a woman who recently returned from a trip outside the country.

It’s the first confirmed case of the virus in the Keys. Travel-related means she was bitten by an infected mosquito on her trip. That’s different than locally transmitted.

Statewide, there were 369 confirmed Zika cases as of Tuesday that don’t involve pregnant women. There were an additional 57 that did.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito carries Zika as well as dengue fever and other viruses. Zika’s symptoms include pain in the joints, bones and muscles; and fever. It can cause birth defects in the children of women who are pregnant and get the virus.

Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave its go-ahead for a test program to release genetically modified mosquitoes in the Lower Keys neighborhood of Key Haven with the goal of reducing the population of the Zika-carrying mosquitoes.

But don’t look for a release anytime soon. The Florida Keys Mosquito Control Board would still have to approve it. If it does, a test release could take place next year.

Keys residents will vote in a nonbinding referendum Nov. 8 on whether the test release should take place. There are actually two separate ballot questions, one for Key Haven residents only and one for all Monroe County voters.

Larry Kahn: 305-440-3218

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