Four Zika virus cases reported in Palm Beach County in 2018


Four cases of the mosquito-borne Zika virus have been reported in Palm Beach County this year, according to the Florida Department of Health.

All four cases - and all 59 statewide -- have been in people who have visited Zika-affected countries, such as parts of the Caribbean, Africa, South America and Asia, according to the department and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus has not been spread from person to person within Florida.

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“The virus mosquito is here, but it’s going to take a mosquito biting an infected individual to be able to spread it, and we have not seen any of that,” said Tim O’Connor, spokesman for the department’s Palm Beach County office.

The Zika virus poses risks for pregnant women, since it has been linked to the birth defect microcephaly and other severe brain defects. Other people who become infected usually experience mild symptoms that last up to one week.

Palm Beach County got its first local case of Zika in August 2016, the year that the virus first drew widespread public attention. There were five total cases that spread locally year, along with 65 travel-related cases and one undetermined case, according to state health records.

The number dropped off in 2017, with only nine total Zika cases in Palm Beach County, all from travel, according to the health department.

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Statewide, Florida had 1,471 cases of Zika in 2016, with 300 of them local. Wynwood, a trendy area in Miami, became an epicenter of the locally transmitted virus.

In 2017, there were 262 total state cases, with only two of them spread locally.

O’Connor said that although there haven’t been local cases for a while, people should still practice mosquito control. He advised people wear long sleeves, use an insect repellant and dry up any standing water.

Mosquitoes can breed in “as little as a spoonful of water,” he said. 

He said other diseases, like the West Nile Virus, are also dangerous and transmitted by mosquitoes.


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