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ZIKA Continues To Spread

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  • ZIKA Continues To Spread

    CHICAGO Health experts are bracing for Zika virus to spread to the United States by April or May, borne by a mosquito that craves human blood, feeds during the day and lives under beds and inside closets.
    Until now, the best weapon against disease-carrying mosquitoes in the United States has been outdoor pesticide fog sprayed by truck and airplane. But health experts fear the typical approach will do little to eradicate the Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries Zika.
    Controlling that mosquito requires pesticide sprayed under beds, on the walls and in closets, said Gonzalo Vazquez-Prokopec, who studies disease transmission patterns of mosquitoes at Emory's School of Public Health's Department of Environmental Sciences.
    "We know fogging is not effective," Vazquez-Prokopec said.
    Though there could be localized U.S. outbreaks, most likely along the Gulf Coast, federal officials said they hope the wide use of air conditioning, window screens and regular garbage collection will mitigate the risk.
    The World Health Organization declared the Zika outbreak an international health emergency this week after evidence linking the virus to microcephaly, a devastating birth defect that can cause unusually small heads and permanent brain damage. Brazil has reported 3,700 suspected cases of microcephaly. The outbreak is now affecting at least 25 countries and territories, most of them in Latin American and the Caribbean, and could infect up to 4 million people in the Americas, according to the WHO.

    A growing concern are reports that the ZIKA virus can be sexually transmitted.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) voiced concern on Wednesday over a report that the Zika virus had been sexually transmitted in the United States and called for further investigation into the mosquito-borne virus linked to birth defects.
    The first known case of Zika virus transmission in the United States was reported in Dallas, Texas on Tuesday by local health officials, who said it likely was contracted through sex and not a mosquito bite.

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