The warm weather has arrived in the united states is bringing mosquitoes and, last year, after the outbreak of Zika, states hit hard by the virus are stepping up their efforts to prevent the spread of the bug-borne illness, even if the future of federal funding to combat it, remains in danger.
In 2016, Zika, which is known to lead to neurological abnormalities in the development of fetuses – was found in pregnant women in 44 states across the country and caused large-scale outbreaks in Puerto Rico, the U. S. virgin islands, American Samoa, Florida and Texas. A CDC report released earlier this month showed that one in 10 pregnant women with Zika gave birth to a child with a serious congenital anomalies. In the U.S. alone last year, 77 babies died in the womb by Zika, while 51 babies were born with Zika associated with congenital abnormalities.
A warm winter in many of the countries heavily affected by Zika could mean that the survival of eggs of the Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that transmits the virus.
Last month, federal officials at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta told health officials from the six countries hard hit by the virus that Zika funding envisioned to last five years instead probably walk this summer.
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A Senate panel last week approved a bill that allows an additional $100 million grant to battle Zika, but the bill must still be voted on by the full Senate before the summer starts.
With Zika season is fast approaching and a vaccine against the virus is still far away from being available to the public, Fox News took a look at what some of the states effort to fight against the virus last year are doing as the temperatures rise.
Despite Gov. Rick Scott to declare that the virus is not spread in Florida, experts have warned that conditions in the Sunshine State are ripe for Zika to stay ahead of the pest inhabitants and the type of mosquito that transmits the virus can travel easily and a warm winter means that their eggs have a better chance of hatching.
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FILE – In this Jan. 27, 2016, file photo, an Aedes aegypti mosquito is photographed by a microscope at the Fiocruz institute in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil. A new study suggests the worrisome Zika virus has apparently been in Brazil for at least a year longer than experts had previously thought. Some experts have speculated the virus first came to America sometime in 2014. But the new study, led by Brazilian researchers, concludes Zika landed in Brazil a year earlier. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)
After seeing 1,093 cases of Zika picked up by people traveling abroad and other 279 infected Zika, divided in Florida – the most common in densely populated Miami-Dade County – mosquito districts that the government is handing out $3.8 million to pay for research and help in municipalities with small anti-mosquito budgets.
Lawmakers in Tallahassee to $2.6 million in this year’s budget to combat the spread of Zika, and Scott has asked for the same amount to spend on the 2017/18 budget, but the experts and some state legislators say that more is needed – especially if the virus spreads to new parts of the state.
“To be effective, our local mosquitoes, efforts must have the necessary resources,” Florida state Rep. Matt Caldwell, a Republican from North Fort Meyers, told the Miami Herald. “More and more of that as a reaction to a threat is important.”
While the more temperate states such as Florida and Texas have gotten most of the attention when it comes to Zika, New York was actually the second hardest-hit state by Zika after Florida with 1,021 symptomatic cases reported, according to the CDC.
Until February of this year, in the state of New York decreased from $2.1 million at Zika prevention, and it is still in development budget to tackle prevention of this summer. New York City, which saw more confirmed cases of Zika in pregnant women than in the rest of the state combined, is $21 million over three years to fight Zika, with $12 million, that is dedicated to mosquitoes.
In contrast to Florida and Texas, Zika was not transmitted by mosquitoes in the State of New York, but of women who travel to areas where the virus is transferred locally, such as Puerto Rico. That is the reason why both the city and state officials have focused much of their efforts on educating women about the risks of traveling to Zika-infected areas.
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In this Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016 file photo, Darryl Nevins, owner of a Mosquito Joe franchise, sprays a backyard to control mosquitoes in Houston. Zika is sweeping through Latin America and the Caribbean in recent months, and the fear that it will get worse and there is in the USA with the beginning of the mosquito season this summer. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
“The most important thing is that we really want to ensure that women of reproductive age know that there is still a risk of Zika virus,” Jay Varma, the New York City Department of Health’s deputy commissioner for disease control, told Politico. “Really, if the woman is not a kind of sustainable birth control [they should] think carefully about going to those areas.”
Just as New York, no one in California contracted Zika of a mosquito, but at least 444 people were infected with the virus between January 2015 and April 26, 2017, and there are indications that the bugs could soon begin with the transfer of the disease.
California is the first line of defense in keeping the virus at bay is mosquitoes. To do that, the state has enlisted the help of the Buddhist organization Tzu Chi to try to spread the word about the Aedes mosquitoes in the 12 provinces where the Zika-wearing error is found.
The most important attempt to curb the Aedes mosquito population is sending workers door-to-door to every home for standing water, but the pilot projects in El Monte and the Central Valley have also released male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes infected with a bacterium that prevents the mosquito eggs to hatch.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is also the set of monitoring sites of the clinics are in areas that may be susceptible to a local disease outbreak, including the San Gabriel Valley and East Los Angeles, but officials say that it will be hard task to find the source of an outbreak if one occurs.
“We can’t go to every house, and look for each bottle cap,” Gimena Ruedas, assistant vector ecologist with the San Gabriel Valley vector agency, told the Los Angeles Times.
Florida, New York and California may have seen the most symptomatic, Zika cases in the US, but many other countries are working to combat the virus as the warm weather approaches.
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Texas is recommended that all pregnant women in the six countries where the Zika-carrying mosquito lives to be tested for the virus and is also asking a pregnant woman has a rash and at least one other Zika symptom — fever, pain in joints, or redness of the eye to be tested.
There are also concerns that Puerto Rico – called last year the perfect storm for the virus is under-reporting the number of Zika cases.
Puerto Rico has reported only 16 cases of congenital malformations associated with Zika, even though more than 3,300 pregnant women are known to have been infected with the virus and the number of times that number are believed to have been infected.
By contrast, the U.S. states and the District of Columbia, where the threat of Zika was thought to be much lower overall, registered congenital anomalies in 63 fetus or the baby the among the 1300 women who contracted the Zika virus.
Some observers believe that Puerto Rico, which is heavily dependent on tourism, is the downplaying of the size of the Zika problem.
“Puerto Rico is no escape from this. They are simply to hide,” a former AMERICAN official said of the situation. The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said months ago, it was clear that “dozens” of babies in Puerto Rico bore the characteristics of Zika damage. But the territorial health officials declined to label most of them cases of Zika congenital syndrome.