The national germ hype continues as the number of reported Zika infections in the United States increases among Americans babies, from 2,026 to 6,618, as reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP). The California Department of Public Health reported seeing an increase in travel-related Zika infections, from 114 reported July 29 to 153 reported just Friday.
As tension surrounding the mosquito-borne virus grows, here are 7 things you need to know:
1. The virus is predominantly active in South America and parts of North America.
The CDC lists approximately 55 countries and territories with active Zika transmission, including South and Central America, Mexico, several Oceania Islands, and even the African Cape Verde.
Zika first originated in Uganda, Africa in 1947.
2. Most Zika transmission cases in the U.S. seem to be travel-related.
As of August 10, 2016, the CDC reported 1,962 total Zika cases in the U.S., listing 6 locally transmitted mosquito-borne cases, 1 laboratory transmitted case, and 22 sexually transmitted cases.
1,955 cases reported were travel-related.
3. The 2016 Summer Olympics might make things worse.
Public health officials worry that Olympics athletes and fans traveling to Rio de Janeiro this summer will become vectors of the virus, flying back with it to their home countries and risking further spread of the disease. A CDC alert warned pregnant women to refrain from traveling to see the Olympics in Brazil this year.
Over 3,000 microcephaly cases were reported in Brazilian infants whose mothers had contracted the Zika virus in 2014. Brazil is one of many countries in the America experiencing an ongoing Zika outbreak.
4. U.S. cases with the highest virus transmission rates include likely Zika travel destinations such as New York, Florida, California, and Texas.
As of August 10, 2016, the number of Zika cases reported by the CDC were 87 in California, 99 in Texas, 328 in Florida, and 530 in New York. By Friday, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported 106 cases in Texas, and the California Department of Public Health reported 153 cases in California.
5. Texas reported its first Zika-related infant death Tuesday, August 9.
A newborn in the Houston area died due to the Zika outbreak, Texas public health officials are saying. The infant’s mother had traveled to Latin America during her pregnancy and was infected there. Her child had contracted microcephaly in the womb, and died shortly after birth.
Currently the CDC is monitoring an nearly 1,000 pregnant women in the U.S. for Zika contraction.
6. The first two California babies born with microcephaly due to Zika were reported last week.
The California Department of Public Health reported the first two babies born in the state with Zika-induced microcephaly on August 4. Babies born with microcephaly have abnormally small heads and other developmental and neurological conditions. The condition is incurable.
Los Angeles has the highest Zika case number in the state (34), followed by Orange County (10) and San Bernardino County (7). All of California’s Zika cases are travel-related.
7. South Florida remains the only place in the country where the virus was locally transmitted.
The CDC reported 6 locally mosquito-borne Zika cases in Florida as of August 10, 2016. The Florida Department of Health has identified an area near downtown Miami called Wynwood, where the virus is active. At least 17 cases of locally acquired Zika infections have been reported in or around the Wynwood community.
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