Monday, October 10, 2016

FLORIDA - Zika Control?

"In Florida, controlling Zika is no simple matter" PBS NewsHour 10/5/2016


SUMMARY:  Florida's battle against the outbreak of Zika is intensifying as the number of cases climbs.  The state currently has 940 documented instances of the virus, with 230 in Miami-Dade County alone.  Efforts to contain the spread of the disease focus on mosquito control and avoidance, but many details about Zika remain a mystery.  For more on the outbreak, William Brangham reports from Miami.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM (NewsHour):  Beyond the famous sugar-white sands of South Beach in Miami, there's a clear sense of unease about the growing public health crisis here.

GOV.  RICK SCOTT (R-Fla.):  This means Florida has become the first state in the nation to have local transmission of the Zika virus.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  Over the last few months, officials have been waging an all-out war against mosquitoes, spraying pesticides from the air, going door to door in some neighborhoods, checking plants and standing water, and plastering the city with warning signs, telling residents how to protect themselves from Zika.

There are now over 940 documented cases of Zika in the state of Florida and over 230 in Miami-Dade County alone.  But the epicenter is here in Miami, and the largest number of locally-acquired Zika infections have occurred in these two neighborhoods.

How are people in Florida doing with this?

SAMMY MACK, Health Reporter, WLRN:  The pregnant women that I have talked to, and their partners, or people who know pregnant women are taking it very seriously, and there's a lot of anxiety there.  There's a lot of anxiety there.

Pregnant women should avoid nonessential travel to the county.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  Sammy Mack is a health reporter for WLRN, the local NPR station in Miami.  While she's eager to cover this big story, Mack has ended up in the middle of in it in a way she'd rather not.  She's also four months pregnant.

SAMMY MACK:  It became an issue of, OK, how — how am I going to cover this thing that is happening in the middle of my beat, in a way that is not putting me at any kind of additional risk?

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  Mack took one of the free Zika tests offered by the state, but the results took weeks, and those delays can limit the options for pregnant women.

SAMMY MACK:  I waited five weeks to get my results back.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  In the middle of a pregnancy?

SAMMY MACK:  In the middle of a pregnancy.

If women don't get their test turned around quickly and are waiting four weeks, six weeks, eight weeks, whatever it is, that may affect their window to decide to terminate the pregnancy.  Florida restricts abortion past 24 weeks.

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