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Zika has been reported in the high risk areas of Florida in the United States. The continental U.S. does have the strains of mosquitoes that can become infected with and spread Zika virus, including Aedes aegypti. Cases of Zika in Florida have been reported as documented cases of local transmission within the continental U.S. Experts believe that mosquito control efforts and the widespread use of air conditioning in this country will help to slow the spread of Zika to the continental U.S., but residents should take all recommended measures to prevent mosquito bites.
This content originally appeared online at Johns Hopkins Medicine (http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/zika-virus/answers-to-common-questions.html).
Health experts fear that South Florida’s subtropical climate at the start of the rainy season could provide a fertile breeding ground for Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries the Zika virus. Zika, already prevalent in much of Latin America and the Caribbean, is believed to cause microcephaly when contracted in pregnancy. This is a serious birth defect in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and other health concerns. The Zika virus has been linked to thousands of cases of birth defects in Brazil.
South Florida has about 45 types of mosquitoes, some of which also carry several other diseases including dengue fever, West Nile Virus, encephalitis, malaria, chikungunya, dog heartworm and others. Mosquitoes can breed in standing water that is as small as a bottle top. That’s why it’s important for area residents to take steps to prevent the spread of mosquitoes during rainy season and year-round.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.