MIAMI — The Zika virus is more prevalent than Florida health officials have reported, and pregnant women should consider postponing travel to Miami-Dade County, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said last month.
Because of the local spread of the virus, the CDC also reinforced recommendations for measures to prevent exposure to Zika. The agency advised testing for the disease for pregnant women who have lived in, traveled to or had unprotected sex with someone who lived in or traveled to any area of Miami-Dade since August 1.
“Zika continues to pose a threat to pregnant women living in or traveling to Miami-Dade County,” said Dr. Lyle Petersen, director of the agency’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases. The guidance “strengthens our travel advice and testing recommendations for pregnant women, to further prevent the spread of the infection among those most vulnerable.”
The CDC identified a 4.5-square-mile area of Miami Beach and 1-square-mile area in Little River as Zika transmission areas, or red zones. The rest of Miami-Dade County was identified as a cautionary area, or yellow zone.
People living in an area with possible Zika virus transmission should be counseled on the possible risk for infection during the preconception period, the agency said. Women and men should discuss their reproductive plans with their health care provider, given potential and ongoing Zika virus exposure.
Also, women and men with ongoing risks for exposure who are diagnosed with Zika virus disease should wait at least eight weeks, and at least six months, respectively, after symptom onset before attempting conception.
Later in October, CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said the proliferation of pathogens such as Zika is “the new normal” in an age of global travel and trade, fast-growing cities and climate change. Zika and other diseases spread by mosquitos “are really not controllable with current technologies,” Frieden said. “So we will see this become endemic.”