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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic; Now tracking the Aussie Flu.

400 Zika cases in Florida by Mid September

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Albert View Drop Down
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    Posted: August 23 2016 at 6:31am
Local transmission of Zika will start in Texas in approx 30 days. Normally this wouldn't be much of a concern except for pregnant women or those looking to start a family. People should understand that based on a recent study, in many cases adults may suffer from potential brain damage as time progresses. Miami will be up to around 400 cases next month.

How Big, Really, Is The Zika Outbreak In Florida?


A plane sprays pesticide over the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami on Aug. 6. That's just one way health officials are battling back Zika-carrying mosquitoes in the area.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

As expected, the Zika outbreak in Florida is growing — though how fast is still difficult to say.

State and federal health officials say mosquitoes are spreading Zika in two neighborhoods of Miami, including Miami Beach. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told pregnant women Friday not to go into these neighborhoods — and to consider postponing travel to all parts of Miami-Dade County.

Just 37 people have been reported to have caught the virus in these neighborhoods so far.

But many scientists are concerned that the outbreak in Florida may be larger and more widespread than the number of cases suggests.

"Zika is one of those diseases that is always like an iceberg — you just see the tip," says Alessandro Vespignani, a computer scientist at Northeastern University in Boston, who has been tasked with modeling the spread of the virus.

Most people who get Zika don't even know they have it, Vespignani explains. About 4 in 5 people don't have any symptoms, he says. And those who do get sick often have only mild symptoms that could be confused with the flu. So only about 5 percent of cases get detected, Vespignani has found.

To get better estimates of the number of silent infections in Miami and beyond, Vespignani and his colleagues built computer models that estimate how the virus is likely to spread.

"We estimate there will be 395 infected people by Sept. 15 [in Florida]," says Ira Longini, a biostatistician at the University of Florida, who collaborates with Vespignani.

About 80 of those people will show symptoms, Longini estimates. And about eight pregnant women are likely to get infected during their first trimester — which would put their fetuses at risk for microcephaly.

The number of Zika cases in Florida will very likely continue to rise until October or November, when cooler weather stops the mosquitoes, Longini says, though a number of variables could speed the spread before that.

"For example, on Monday the University of Florida opens its first day of classes," he says. "Tens of thousands of students will be coming from the Miami area, as well as from all over Latin America. So we could see a burst of cases by mid-September here in Gainesville."

Because of these uncertainties, many doctors around the country are recommending that their pregnant patients — and those trying to get pregnant — not travel to southern Florida.

And Florida isn't the only place in the continental U.S. at risk.

Longini has used the computer models to predict where Zika could show up next in the States. He says the big concern is Texas — which has roughly a 25 percent chance of having a small outbreak in the next month, according to the models.

"I would not be surprised if we see cases in Texas and Louisiana," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told ABC News Sunday, citing the flooding in Louisiana as something Zika watchers will be keeping an eye on.

"There's going to be a lot of problems getting rid of standing water [there]," Fauci says — puddles where Zika-carrying mosquitoes could breed and thrive.

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/08/22/490941346/how-big-really-is-the-zika-outbreak-in-florida

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Penham Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 23 2016 at 4:49pm
Can you imagine what this is going to do to the economy of those states that rely on tourists to shop, eat, visit, stay in hotels. The trickle down effect will mean job loss for people as business won't be able to stay open for long or have to cut back on peoples hours if places are "ghost towns"
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