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Zika testing underway in South Florida

Monday, August 1, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: DCMS
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Communications Office


Tallahassee, Fla.—In an effort to keep Florida residents and visitors safe and aware about the status oftheZikavirus,thedepartmentwillcontinue toissue aZikavirusupdateeach week dayat2p.m.Updates will include aCDC-confirmedZikacase count by countyand information to betterkeepFloridiansprepared.

Therearetwonewtravel-related cases todaywith one in ManateeCountyand one in St. Lucie County. Please visit ourwebsiteto see the full list of travel-related cases.

On Friday, July 29, the department confirmed Florida’s first local transmissions of the Zika virus in four individuals inMiami-Dade and Broward Counties. Three locations of interest were investigated based on where these individuals spent a majority of their time.

Since the department began our investigation into possible local transmissions of Zika on July 7th, more than 200 individuals in Miami-Dade and Broward counties have been tested for the virus who live or work near the individuals that have already been confirmed with likely mosquito-borne transmissions. See breakdown of cases and testing numbers below.

  • Onecase in Miami-Dade:54 close contacts and individuals from the community have been tested with no additional positives
  • Onecasein Broward: 70 close contacts and individuals from the community have been tested with no additional positive
  • Two cases in the area of interest in Miami-Dade:tested 26 close contacts,one confirmed and three probable; 52 individuals from the community have been tested, six were positive but asymptomatic

The department tested close contacts and community members within a 150 meter radius, the maximum distance that Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are known to travel.These community surveys are the first systematic assessment of individuals for possible asymptomatic Zika virus infection ever performed. Finding six asymptomatic individuals who were positive for Zika contributes to our understanding of the role these individuals may play in transmitting Zika.

The department has conducted testing for the Zika virus for more than 2,300 people statewide.

Atthis time, the department still believes active transmissions of the Zika virus are occurring in one small area in Miami-Dade County, just north of downtown. The exact location is within the boundaries of the following area: NW 5thAvenue to the west, US 1 to the east, NW/NE 38thStreet to the north and NW/NE 20thStreet to the south.This area is about one square mile and a map is below to detail the area.This remains the only area of the state where the department has confirmed there are local transmissions of Zika.If investigations reveal additional areas of likely active transmission, the department willannounce a definedarea of concern.

In the area where activetransmission isoccurring, the department continues door-to-door outreachand is gatheringsamplesfor testing to determine the number of people affected.Mosquito abatement and reduction activities continue.

The departmentcontinues to work closely with CDC and, at the direction of Governor Scott,has requested a CDC Emergency Response Team (CERT) be deployed to Florida. The CERT team will consist of a vector control expert to provide guidance on local mosquito control measures, a laboratory professional to assist with rapid testing, a pregnancy birth defects registry expert to assist with tracking pregnancy outcomes and a risk communications professional to assist with messaging and outreach to target populations.

CDC recommends that women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant postpone travel to areas with widespread Zika infection. Florida’s small case cluster is not considered widespread transmission, however, pregnant women are advised to avoid non-essential travel to the impacted area in Miami-Dade County (see map below). If you are pregnant and must travel or if you live or work in the impacted area, protect yourself from mosquito bites by wearing insect repellent, long clothing and limiting your time outdoors.

According to CDC guidance, providers should consider testing all pregnant women with a history of travel to a Zika affected area for the virus.It is also recommended thatall pregnant women who reside in or travel frequently to thearea where active transmission is likely occurring be tested for Zikain the first and second trimester. Pregnant women in the identified area can contact their medical provider or their local county health department to be tested and receive a Zika prevention kit. CDC recommends that a pregnant woman with a history of Zika virus and her provider should consider additional ultrasounds. Additionally, the department will work closely with the Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade County to identify pregnant women in the one square mile area to ensure they have access to resources and information to protect themselves. CDC recommends that a pregnant woman with a history of Zika virus and her provider should consider additional ultrasounds.

Florida has been monitoring pregnant women with evidence of Zika regardless of symptoms since January. The total number of pregnant women who have beenor are being monitoredis 55.

The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists and CDC released a new case definition for Zika that now includes reporting both asymptomatic and symptomatic cases of Zika. Prior to this change, states reported only symptomatic non-pregnant cases and pregnant cases regardless of symptoms. This change comes as a result of increased availability for testing in commercial laboratories.

OnFeb. 12, Governor Scott directed the State Surgeon General to activate a Zika Virus Information Hotline for current Florida residents and visitors, as well as anyone planning on traveling to Florida in the near future. The hotline, managed by the Department of Health, has assisted 2,480 callers since it launched. The number for the Zika Virus Information Hotline is1-855-622-6735.

The department urges Floridians to drain standing water weekly, no matter how seemingly small. A couple drops of water in a bottle cap can be a breeding location for mosquitoes. Residents and visitors also need to use repellents when enjoying the Florida outdoors.

More Information on DOH action on Zika:

  • OnFeb. 3, Governor Scott directed the State Surgeon General to issue a Declaration of Public Health Emergency for the counties of residents with travel-associated cases of Zika.
  • There have been 29 counties included in the declaration– Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Duval, Escambia, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Okaloosa, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Santa Rosa, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie and Volusia – and will be updated as needed.
  • DOH encourages Florida residents and visitors to protect themselves from all mosquito-borne illnesses by draining standing water; covering their clothing and bare skin with repellent; and covering windows with screens.
  • DOH has a robust mosquito-borne illness surveillance system and is working with CDC, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and local county mosquito control boards to ensure that the proper precautions are being taken to protect Florida residents and visitors.
  • OnApril 6, Governor Scott and Interim State Surgeon General Dr. Celeste Philip hosted a conference call with Florida Mosquito Control Districts to discuss ongoing preparations to fight the possible spread of the Zika virus in Florida. There were 74 attendees on the call.
  • OnMay 11, Governor Scott met with federal leaders on the importance of preparing for Zika as we would a hurricane. Governor Scott requested 5,000 Zika preparedness kits from HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell as well as a plan from FEMA on how resources will be allocated to states in the event an emergency is declared.
  • OnJune 1, Governor Scott requested for President Obama to provide preparedness items needed in order to increase Florida’s capacity to be ready when Zika becomes mosquito-borne in our state.
  • OnJune 9, Governor Scott spoke with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden on Zika preparedness and reiterated the requests that he has continued to make to the federal government to prepare for the Zika virus once it becomes mosquito-borne in Florida. Governor Scott also requested that the CDC provide an additional 1,300 Zika antibody tests to Florida to allow individuals, especially pregnant women and new mothers, to see if they ever had the Zika virus.
  • OnJune 23, Governor Scott announced that he will use his emergency executive authority to allocate $26.2 million in state funds for Zika preparedness, prevention and response in Florida.
  • OnJune 28, the department announced the first confirmed case of microcephaly in an infant born in Florida whose mother had a travel-related case of Zika. The mother of the infant contracted Zika while in Haiti. Following the confirmation of this case, Governor Scott called on CDC to host a call with Florida medical professionals, including OBGYNs and physicians specializing in family medicine, to discuss the neurological impacts of Zika and what precautions new and expecting mothers should take.
  • OnJuly 1, CDC hosted a call with Florida medical professionals, including OB/GYNs, pediatricians and physicians specializing in family medicine, to discuss the neurological impacts of Zika and what precautions new and expecting mothers should take. More than 120 clinicians participated.
  • On July 29, Governor Scott announced that the department had gathered enough information as part of its ongoing investigation into non-travel related cases of Zika in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to conclude that a high likelihood exists that four cases are the result of local transmission. The department believes that active transmission of the Zika virus is occurring in one small area in Miami-Dade County, just north of downtown. The exact location is within the boundaries of the following area: NW 5th Avenue to the west, US 1 to the east, NW/NE 38th Street to the north and NW/NE 20th Street to the south.
  • Florida currently has the capacity to test 6,609 people for active Zika virus and 2,059 for Zika antibodies.

Federal Guidance on Zika:

  • According to CDC, Zika illness is generally mild with a rash, fever and joint pain. CDC researchers have concluded that Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and other birth defects.
  • The FDA released guidance regarding donor screening, deferral and product management to reduce the risk of transfusion-transmission of Zika virus. Additional information is available on the FDA websitehere.
  • CDC has put outguidancerelated to the sexual transmission of the Zika virus. This includes CDC recommendation that if you have traveled to a country with local transmission of Zika you should abstain from unprotected sex.

For more information on Zika virus, clickhere.

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by thePublic Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

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