The Florida Department of Health announced there are 15 new travel-related cases, including five in Orange, four in Miami-Dade, three in Osceola, one in Collier, one in Pinellas and one involving a pregnant woman.
The agency also announced five new non-travel related cases of the Zika virus, including four in Miami-Dade and one in Pinellas County. The four individuals in Miami-Dade were identified within the Wynwood area and experienced symptoms of Zika in mid-July. However, the cases are being announced today following confirmatory antibody testing to rule out other mosquito-borne illness such as Dengue and Chikungunya.
DOH has begun door-to-door outreach in Pinellas County and mosquito abatement and reduction activities are also taking place. DOH still believes ongoing transmission is only taking place within the small identified areas in Wynwood and Miami Beach in Miami-Dade County.
One case does not mean active transmission is taking place. The department conducts a thorough investigation by sampling close contacts and community members around each case to determine if additional people are infected. If the department finds evidence that active transmission is occurring in an additional area, we will notify the media and the public.
Governor Scott announced that DOH has found no evidence of transmission of Zika around nearly the entire perimeter of the area in Wynwood. This does not change CDC’s guidance for pregnant women or the Wynwood area.
The department is currently conducting nine active investigations. Information regarding the investigations outside the Wynwood and Miami-Beach areas can be found here. If investigations reveal additional areas of active transmission, the department will announce a defined area of concern.
The department has conducted Zika virus testing for more than 3,877 people statewide. Florida currently has the capacity to test 6,559 people for active Zika virus and 2,413 for Zika antibodies. At Governor Scott’s direction, all county health departments now offer free Zika risk assessment and testing to pregnant women.
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 that all pregnant women who reside in or travel frequently to the area where active transmission is likely occurring be tested for Zika in 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 is working closely with the Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade County to identify pregnant women in the impacted areas 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.
Pregnant women can contact their local county health department for Zika risk assessment and testing hours and information. A Zika risk assessment will be conducted by county health department staff and blood and/or urine samples may be collected and sent to labs for testing. It may take one to two weeks to receive results.
Florida has been monitoring pregnant women with evidence of Zika regardless of symptoms since January. The total number of pregnant women who have been or are being monitored is 70.
On Feb. 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 4,504 callers since it launched. The number for the Zika Virus Information Hotline is 1-855-622-6735.
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.