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The Ministry of Health of Brazil has reported an increase in the numbers of newborns with microcephaly as well as other poor pregnancy outcomes in areas experiencing Zika virus outbreaks. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is conducting research to further characterize the relationship between Zika virus and poor pregnancy outcomes. Additional studies are planned to learn more about the risks of Zika virus infection during pregnancy. There are many causes of microcephaly in babies, including genetic abnormalities.
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The Aedes aegypti mosquito, the type of mosquito that spreads the Zika virus, is present in Florida and throughout the southern United States. The current number of travel-associated cases of Zika virus in Florida can be found at Florida Health.
From learned experience with dengue virus and chikungunya virus in Florida, which are spread by the same mosquito, travelers who come back infected can infect local mosquito populations. With what we know from dengue and chikungunya, it is very unlikely we will have large outbreaks of Zika virus in the United States. One major reason for this is we have better constructed housing with air conditioning and intact screens that protect us from being bitten by mosquitoes in our homes.
When locally acquired mosquito-borne illness is present, the health department works closely with mosquito control to stop further transmission of the virus of concern. Mosquito control and the health department jointly provide public education whenever possible as well since it is very important all residents cooperate and drain containers on their property at least weekly to help successfully control this mosquito.
The Florida Department of Health urges Florida residents and visitors to protect themselves from all mosquito-borne illnesses by draining standing water; covering their skin with repellent and clothing; covering windows with screens; and other basic Drain and Cover precautions.