Zika Virus in Florida: What We Know and What We Don’t Know


An Aedes aegypti mosquito at a University of Wisconsin-Madison lab.

Jeff Miller/U.W.-Madison University Communication, via Associated Press

Although the Zika virus has not yet been found in Florida mosquitoes, the state’s health department has decided to treat as mosquito-borne four cases in which Florida residents have tested positive. Some of the four victims — three men and one woman — worked in the same neighborhood, and it is thought they contracted it from mosquitoes there in early July.


C.D.C. on the Spread of Zika in the U.S.

Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said there would most likely be additional isolated cases of mosquito-borne Zika, and offered preventive measures.

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS on Publish Date July 29, 2016.

Photo by Scott McIntyre for The New York Times.

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What We Know

• Health officials believe that transmission is or was confined to a one-square-mile area just north of downtown Miami — including the Wynwood neighborhood south of Interstate 195 and east of Interstate 95. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which carry the virus, rarely fly more than a mile in their lives.

• Mosquito-control efforts have been concentrated in that area, and in neighborhoods where the victims live. Truck and backpack sprayers disseminate fogs that kill adult mosquitoes and water treatments that kill larvae. Officials have asked residents to empty standing water on their properties, and to let pest specialists spray for mosquitoes inside homes and gardens and add larvicide to containers that might hold water. People in the area are also being asked to use mosquito repellent and take other steps to protect themselves.

Short Answers to Hard Questions About Zika Virus

• No travel advisories have been issued. Health officials are not suggesting that pregnant women avoid visiting the area or leave it if they live or work there. Some public health specialists disagree with this policy.

• People living and working in the affected neighorhoods have been asked to take urine or blood tests to see how widespread transmission was and whether it is continuing.


Understanding Zika

How dangerous is the virus and who is most at risk?

By AARON BYRD and SERGIO PEÇANHA on Publish Date February 3, 2016.

Photo by Luis Robayo/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images.

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• Local blood banks have begun testing every unit donated.

• Obstetricians will be asked to distribute “Zika prevention kits” to pregnant patients. They contain insect repellent, condoms and other items to help prevent mosquito-borne and sexual transmission.

What We Don’t Know

• Details about the four people infected, whose identities are withheld for privacy.

• Whether transmission has been stopped, or whether it is confined to only the neighborhoods where control efforts are concentrated.

• Where the virus came from, which can be determined only by advanced genetic testing.

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