Health officials warn pregnant women of Zika outbreak in Miami

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 01: Larry Smart, a Miami-Dade County mosquito control inspector, uses a fogger to spray pesticide to kill mosquitos in the Wynwood neighborhood as the county fights to control the Zika virus outbreak on August 1, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Health officials are warning pregnant women to avoid one square-mile neighborhood in Miami after an outbreak of Zika there this week, marking the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a health advisory for the continental U.S. due to an infectious disease. The CDC is advising pregnant women to avoid the one-square-mile area near the Wynwood Arts District in Miami after 14 people were diagnosed with Zika. Officials also are urging pregnant women and their partners in the wider area to avoid mosquito bites and practice safe sex. Pregnant women who were in that area after June 15 should be tested for Zika and other women should wait eight weeks before trying to get pregnant, officials said.

Other doctors, including those at the University of California Los Angeles, are now telling patients to avoid traveling to southern Florida, particularly Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, while doctors at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas are considering an advisory for the entire state of Florida. The CDC said its advisory area is so small because mosquitos infected with the disease don’t fly very far, traveling only about 500 feet over the entire course of its life. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, noted that the CDC is trying to avoid creating unnecessary panic.

“The CDC is walking a tightrope,” Jha says. “Most people who go to southern Florida today are not going to be bitten by a mosquito that’s infected,” he said

Read the full story at NPR.


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