Miami now has a 1-mile no-go zone for pregnant women, thanks to Zika virus

MIAMI, FL – JULY 30: Sharon Nagel, a Miami-Dade County mosquito control inspector, walks through the Wynwood neighborhood looking for mosquitos .
Image: Joe Raedle/ Getty Images

A localise Zika virus outbreak in Miami inspired the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention( CDC) to issue a rare travelling advisory on Monday, cautioning pregnant women or women who wish to become pregnant against traveling to a 1-mile radius of an region simply north of downtown Miami.

The Zika virus transmission zone encompasses the Miami neighborhood of Wynwood, Florida, as well as portions of Edgewater.

The agency said that since it first announced the first active transmission of the Zika virus within the U.S. on Friday, additional occurrences were identified in the same part of Florida merely north of downtown Miami.

CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden told reporters on a conference call that testing by state and local officials as well as CDC personnels has turned up persistent mosquito populations in that area, along with additional Zika suits. Frieden said there is a risk of continued Zika transmission in that area.

The CDC travel advisory is a step the agency had been taking to warn against foreign travel by U.S. citizens to countries where Zika transmission was ongoing, including Brazil, where the Rio Olympics will kick off on Friday.

The 1-square-mile Zika transmission zone only north of downtown Miami.

Image: Florida department of public health

Frieden said it is the first time the CDC had issued a traveling advisory regarding a place inside the U.S ., other than a Zika-related advisory in Puerto Rico, where far more widespread transmitting of the virus is occurring.

The CDC said women who are considering becoming pregnant can travel to the affected area, but health officers recommend they wait at least eight weeks before trying to conceive a child.

According to the 2010 Census, the advisory affects about 20,214 people.

The limited area of the advisory is based on the fact that the mosquito that spreads the Zika virus is not known to venture further than 150 meters during its entire lifetime, Frieden said.

Zika is spread through mosquito bites of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which can also spread dengue fever and chikungunya, and can also be transmitted sexually. The virus is the first mosquito-borne illness known to cause birth defects, according to Frieden, as it has led to an increase in cases of microcephaly, a devastating condition in which newborns are born with unusually small head sizings and brain abnormalities.

This is the first time weve considered birth defects caused by a mosquito bite, Frieden said.

While it can also cause health complications in adults, most of those infected with the virus don’t notification any symptoms at all, which induces seeing the virus more difficult.

Florida Governor Rick Scott said on Monday that 10 additional Zika instances had been identified in his nation since Friday, bringing the total number of known locally-acquired examples to 14.

The governor requested that a CDC emergency response team be dispatched to his country to assist coordinate the Zika control endeavours. This team is already en route to Florida, Frieden said.

Pregnant females living in the 1-mile region where active Zika transmission is happen are being told to minimize their exposure to mosquitoes, and wear mosquito repellent containing DEET, Frieden said.

Mosquito control is falling short

Frieden said part of the reason for the travel advisory is that “aggressive” mosquito control efforts in the Miami area have fallen short of expectations, perhaps because the Aedes aegypti mosquito has become resistant to insecticides use against it in that area.

Another reason may be because there are areas of standing water that are providing breed locations for the mosquitoes, according to the CDC director.

Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention( CDC ), seen in Washington on July 13, 2016.

Image: SAUL LOEB/ AFP/ Getty Images

“Mosquito control efforts in the specific community dont appear to be working as wed hoped, ” Frieden said.

So far, though, health officials have not received any mosquitoes that have tested positive for Zika. However, Frieden said that is extremely difficult to do, with human infections typically demonstrating up before mosquitoes test positive.

Frieden rejected the notion that the narrow advisory is aimed at pleasing Florida’s multibillion dollar tourism industry. There wouldnt be a technological or scientific basis to give a broader recommendation, he said.

This won’t rapidly spread nationwide

While Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are present in at the least 30 nations, the Florida instances do not necessarily herald a larger outbreak.

However, this does mark a turning point, since until Friday, Zika had not been transmitted by mosquitoes in the Lower 48 states.

The way Zika spreads is very different from the route other mosquito viruses spread, Frieden said , noting that there is no animal host where the virus circulates. With Zika it is quite focal and generally requires that mosquitoes get reinfected by people.

A similar pattern has been find with U.S. outbreaks of dengue and chikungunya, with those occurring in limited areas, predominantly near the Gulf Coast where warm, muggy weather is more common.

Mashable’s Miriam Kramer contributed to this report .

Read more:

Why a protest camp in Florida is being “ve called the” next Standing Stone

At first glance the quiet town of Live Oak seems an unlikely venue for a stand against Big Energy. But in recent weeks its become a centre of opposition

A north Florida river that attracted the states first tourists a century before Walt Disneys famous cartoon mouse is emerging at the centre of a fight against a contentious 515 -mile natural gas pipeline that many are calling Americas next Standing Rock.

One section of the so-called Sabal Trail pipeline is being laid beneath the crystal waters of the Suwannee river, whose pure mineral springs were once fabled to remedy anything from marital discord to gout.

Today, the abandoned stone bathhouse at Suwannee springs is a disintegrating ruining, and the four hotels that once stood here, the last of which burned down in 1925, are long consigned to history.

The Suwannee river itself though is currently a scene of ongoing conflict amid the opposition to a $3.2 bn pipeline designed to carry a billion cubic feet of natural gas daily through Alabama and Georgia to power plants in Florida upon its scheduled completion later this year.

At first glance, the quiet township of Live Oak, with a population of fewer than 7,000, seems an unlikely venue for such a stand against big energy. But in recent weeks a sizeable woodland protest camp has grown on the banks of the Suwannee and a number of non-violent direct any steps had taken place, including one last week that temporarily halted building and resulted in eight arrests.

Opponents say the building of the pipeline is harming not only the natural beauty of places such as the Suwannee, but irreversibly damaging sensitive environmental and culturally important areas in all three nations, and threatening the supplying of clean drinking water for millions.

This is our land and our water , not theirs, says John Quarterman, president of the WWALS Watershed Coalition that advocates for the conservation of five rivers in Georgia and Florida, including the Suwannee. We cant just sit here and let them come through here. We have to do something about it.

In these parts of northern Florida, as in much of the rest of the nation, the karst bedrock being drilled for the pipeline is a fragile and porous limestone.

Campaigners say that drilling has already resulted in sinkholes forming at several sites, and claim to have evidence of inadequate construction practises, including photograph from the air appearing to show the leaking of drilling mud into Georgias Withlacoochee river from a frac-out.

The consortium of companies behind the project, Spectra Energy of Houston, NextEra Energy of Juno Beach( the mother company of Florida Power and Light) and Duke Energy of Charlotte, North Carolina, insist that stringent safety measures are in place and that security threats to the environment is minimal. Drilling the pipeline, they say, makes a much smaller construction footprint than roads, railroads and water mains.

But adversaries claim Spectra including with regard to has had issues around its safety record, pointing to an explosion caused by a rupture of a natural gas pipeline across the Arkansas river in 2015; a pipeline detonation near its Nig creek compressor station in British Colombia in 2012 and documented regulatory fines of more than $650,000 for various environmental violations since 2010. Not least of the campaigners frets is the possible threat to the underground Floridan aquifer system that offer drinking water for about 10 million people, according to the US Geological Survey.

Environmental impact analyzes and an independent hydro-geological report commissioned respectively by the Sierra Club of Florida and a Native American clan leader warning against health risks of catastrophic breakdown of parts of the cave system essential to the free flowing and purity of water through the aquifer.

Sabal Trail Transmission LLC, the entity set up by the three energy companies to run the project, says campaigners anxieties are unfounded. Sabal Trail will not significantly impact karst terrain, springtimes or the Floridan aquifer with its construction or operations, Andrea Grover, the companys director of stakeholder outreach, wrote in written statements to the Guardian.

The pipeline, she said, was needed to upgrade Floridas fully or near-fully subscribed natural gas transmitting infrastructure and its road and building techniques were determined, after a lengthy consultation period, to avoid, minimize or mitigate impacts.

Protesting
Protesting the pipeline at Live Oak, Florida. Photograph: Richard Luscombe for the Guardian

There were communications, commentary periods, face-to-face and public meetings with landowners, community members and public officials, she said, adding that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission( FERC) and other pertinent federal and country environmental permitting agencies conducted regular inspections.

A massive social information campaign on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #StopSabalTrail has been set up to complement protest attempts on the ground, and organisers say a light is being shone in dark corners of the project that are normally had an opportunity to escaped scrutiny.

Until now these companies got away with it because they tucked it in these tiny Suwannee places like this and didnt tell anyone, says Josh Michener of Twin Falls, Idaho, one of several residents of the Sacred Water campsite who expended weeks in the autumn protesting at Standing Rock.

But the technology, the awareness, attains it much easier for people to know whats going on. You can say its futile, this is a pointless place to be, just a bunch of hippies in the timbers. But its not just about Florida. You can find a majestic point anywhere in the world and say its worth saving but its really the fight against these companies. Thats what constructs it universal.

There are other parallels to the campaign that halted the Dakota Access pipeline( DAPL) in December, particularly the involvement of the native American community. Last week the Seminole Tribe of North Florida said it was opening four heartland protest camps along the pipelines planned road in Levy Countys Goethe Forest and in the towns of Bronson, Williston and Dunnellon, where the tube will lie less than 3,000 ft from a high school.

The tribe is promoting campers to act as water protectors, to observe construction and document and report any violations they witness.

Although the pipeline does not cross Native American reservations, as DAPL did in North Dakota, Floridas indigenous tribes lament the impact on lands it sees as culturally sensitive, like those around Fort Drum creek in central Florida with histories dating back to the Seminole wars of the 1800 s.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Florida reports first possible US Zika examples transmitted by mosquitoes

Governor says four people diagnosed with the virus likely contracted it through mosquito bites but said none of the insects have tested positive so far

The governor of Florida said on Friday four people in the southern part of the state likely have contracted the Zika virus through local mosquito bites, in what would be the first such instances in the continental US.

The instances were not corroborated, as no bug trapped for testing has yet been proved to be carrying the disease. The countries surgeon general, however, told: We recognize that the unknown can be scary, especially for pregnant women.

In the absence of federal funding to fight Zika, authorities in affected states have scrambled both to contain it and to be seen to be acting to do so.

This morning we learned that four people in our state likely have the Zika virus as a result of a mosquito bite, Florida governor Rick Scott said on Friday. This means Florida has become the first nation in our nation to have local transmission.

Florida is taking an aggressive approach. We have worked hard to stay ahead of the spread of Zika and prepare for the worst.

Of the four new cases, Scott told, two were in Miami-Dade County and two in Broward County. One was a woman and three were men. Health officials believe the infections occurred in a very small area, of about one square mile, only north of downtown Miami.

Despite stepping up the trapping and testing of mosquitos in the area, officials have yet to find an insect testing positive for the Zika virus. Officials are going doorway to door, offering to test the public. It was announced on Thursday that blood donations have been suspended in the affected area until all current samples can be tested.

A statement from the Florida department of health told: While no mosquitoes trapped tested positive for the Zika virus, government departments believes these[ four] lawsuits were likely transmitted through infected mosquitoes in this area.

Local, nation and federal officials were investigating. Federal authorities have confirmed more than 1,600 Zika cases in the US. All patients prior to the four reported in Florida contracted the virus while traveling abroad or through sexual linked with an infected person.

Last week, it was reported that authorities in Florida suspected one infection in Miami-Dade had passed via local mosquito bite. Scotts words on Friday indicated a worsening of the problem.

He sought to emphasise, however, that there have been no reported cases of local transmission of Zika in central parts of his nation. As each summer, the Orlando area is teeming with guests from all over the US and countries around the world, attending theme parks such as Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld.

There is no treatment or preventive inoculation for Zika. In most cases the disease renders mild symptoms, such as headache, feverishness and redness in the eyes; 80% of those infected do not even realize it has happened. But for expectant moms, Zika can lead to newborn being born with serious brain defects and developmental abnormalities, especially microcephaly.

UK experts recently urged expectant mothers to avoid travel to the Olympic Games in Brazil, which has been hard struck by the disease, and parts of the US including Florida.

Florida surgeon general Celeste Philip said on Friday: We learn more about Zika each day but we recognize that the unknown can be scary, especially for pregnant women. Were committed to sharing as much as we are capable of as soon as we can.

Scott advised women in the affected area of Miami-Dade and Broward districts who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant to consult their doctor for advisory opinions and Zika prevention kits.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention( CDC) has reported more than 400 expectant moms among US Zika occurrences. It has also warned of likely outbreaks in southern coastal countries as the summer heats up, with Florida, Texas and Louisiana on the frontline.

Texas reported the first case of Zika being transmitted within the US in February, in a case believed to have involved sexual contact.

In Florida, Scott has released emergency funding to provide testing the public, the screening of donated blood in the affected districts, and mosquito testing and abatement measures.

Last month, a bitterly divided US Congress failed to pass $1.1 bn in federal funding to combat Zika. In protest at such inaction, Florida Republican senator Marco Rubio called the Zika threat a full-blown health crisis, and California Democratic senator Barbara Boxer said the crisis was getting worse, adding: We need to act now.

Zika has hit hard in US provinces such as Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and American Samoa, with local transmission by mosquitoes common. The CDC has reported that the virus is infecting up to 50 pregnant women a day in Puerto Rico.

Read more: www.theguardian.com