CDC Issues Travel Warning for Florida After Zika Virus Outbreak
A travel advisory has been issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warning pregnant women from visiting an area with ongoing Zika virus transmission in northern Miami, Florida.
At least 14 people have been infected in the first locally transmitted Zika outbreak in the continental United States. Some countries, including the United Kingdom, have already issued a travel warning for their pregnant citizens about traveling to the affected area in Florida.
After 10 new cases were reported today, in addition to the four cases reported last week, the CDC is now advising pregnant women to avoid traveling to the 1-square-mile area in northern Miami where the outbreak occurred. CDC Director Tom Frieden also advised women who were in that area within the last month to avoid trying to get pregnant to reduce the risk of having an infant that develops Zika-related microcephaly, a birth defect characterized by an abnormally small head brain, leading to significant developmental problems.
“Women who were in this area and left this area recently should wait at least eight weeks before trying to get pregnant,” Frieden said during a news conference today.
While some have questioned why the CDC did not issue a travel advisory last week when the outbreak was first recorded, Frieden explained that the agency had not yet seen continued transmission of the virus and that new information recieved this weekend led to the travel advisory.
“What we have learned over past 48 hours is mosquito control efforts don’t appear to be as effective as we have previously hoped,” he said today. Frieden said since the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads Zika rarely flies beyond 150 meters in its lifetime, health officials did not feel the need to expand the area included in the travel advisory.
“We will continue to look at this data every single day including additional testing if that changes we will adjust the warning,” he said.