Zika

Miami-Dade County plans to hire a full-time entomologist in its increasingly costly fight against the Zika virus.

Funding For State-Level Zika Tracking May End Soon

May 1, 2017

Money that has helped states with Zika tracking and education may end by this summer, putting at risk efforts to better understand the mostly mosquito-borne virus and the devastating birth defects associated with it.


Associated Press

Here we go again.

A Senate panel approved a bill that authorizes an additional $100 million in grant funding to fight the mosquito-carrying Zika virus. The bill could now be voted on by the full Senate before summer begins, but only if Congress doesn’t repeat last year’s delay that saw the money tied up by political wrangling for months.

The money approved Tuesday would fund local mosquito-control efforts, centers that test for the virus and research into improving mosquito-control programs.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

As the rainy season returns to South Florida and the fight against Zika gears up, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District Tuesday began a first-in-Florida trial of a control method that uses bacteria to reduce mosquito populations.

The district will release 20,000 male mosquitoes infected with the Wolbachia bacteria twice a week for the next 12 weeks. The releases will take place in a 10-acre test site on Stock Island,  and mosquito traps there will be compared with a similar-sized control area nearby (but separated by a buffer).

Health officials have published the first comprehensive view of Zika-linked birth defects occurring in the U.S.

The study is the largest so far to estimate the risk of severe birth defects from Zika infections in pregnant women, researchers report Wednesday in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,

Miami-Dade Outlines Aggressive Mosquito Control Plan

Apr 4, 2017

Officials say no disease-carrying mosquitoes have been found so far this year in the Miami area.

Back in 2015, Brazil reported a horrific a surge in birth defects. Thousands of babies were born with brain damage and abnormally small heads, a condition called microcephaly.

Scientists quickly concluded the Zika virus was the culprit. So when Zika returned last year during Brazil's summer months of December, January and February — when mosquitoes are most active — health officials expected another surge in microcephaly cases.

But that never happened.

Priscila Serrano / WLRN

With the rainy season approaching and mosquitoes breeding at this time of year, Gov. Rick Scott and community leaders urged residents to remain aware and take necessary precautions against mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus.

At a community roundtable on Monday at the Department of Health in Miami, the governor stressed the importance of residents’ actions to help prevent Zika-related infections.

Micaela Delgado is a beautiful dark-eyed baby girl with a ready smile. She's 8 months old. She's one of more than 1,000 babies already born in Puerto Rico to mothers with Zika.

Her mother, Yalieth Gonzalez, 22, says despite all her worries, so far Micaela's development appears normal. "She's very active, she's up on her own now, she's crawling," Gonzalez says. "She's saying, 'mama' and 'papa' already. She's a very happy baby. She has a lot of energy." But Gonzalez is on alert for signs of trouble.

Zika Detector Device Being Developed By FAU Researchers

Mar 14, 2017
Division of Public Affairs / Florida Atlantic University

A small group of researchers at Florida Atlantic University is developing a small device that could help detect the Zika virus within just a few minutes and at a very low cost that could be available for use as early as next summer. 

Florida has the highest number of Zika-related cases--with Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County being among the most affected. The Centers for Disease and Control Prevention listed 5,040 virus cases in the United States in the last two years and 1,069 were in Florida. The majority of the cases reported were travel-related.

CDC: Don't Donate Sperm In 3 Counties Due To Zika

Mar 14, 2017

Men from three Florida counties shouldn't donate sperm because of a small risk of spreading Zika, U.S. health officials said Monday.

Race To Find Zika Vaccine Could Hinge On Summer Outbreaks

Feb 23, 2017

As warmer temperatures arrive, researchers are working hard on several promising vaccines against Zika, a virus notorious for infecting humans through this mosquito’s bite.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Florida has not had any locally transmitted cases of Zika so far in 2017. And the number of travel-related cases has fallen drastically in the dry season.

But tests of new mosquito-fighting methods are still moving forward in the Florida Keys.

The first U.S. trial of genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes — the kind that carries Zika and dengue fever — is still on track for the Keys, just not on Key Haven. That's the island that Oxitec, the company that makes the genetically modified mosquito, chose for its test site.

Hotel taxes revenue in Miami-Dade has dropped at a rate not seen since the Great Recession, a decline in public money some attribute to tourists afraid of the Zika virus.


State Money Going To Universities For Zika Research

Feb 2, 2017

Researchers at eight universities, Moffitt Cancer Center and The Scripps Research Institute will share $25 million in grants as the state looks to combat the mosquito-borne Zika virus, Gov. Rick Scott's office announced Wednesday.

Pages