CDC urges action after first Zika mosquito transmissions in US - CBS46 News

CDC urges action after first Zika mosquito transmissions in US

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(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)

The CDC confirmed Friday the first cases of Zika virus mosquito transmission in the US.

Four people became infected in the Miami area after being bitten by a mosquito. Right now, there are 41 Zika travel-related cases in Georgia and more than 1,600 cases of Zika across the US. The cases include more than 400 hundred pregnant women.

The CDC is urging people that live in areas of the country with the type of mosquito that carries the virus to take action now to protect themselves. That includes Georgia where right now it is peak mosquito season.

“We don’t have a crystal ball and we can’t really predict what might happen but nonetheless we need for states including Georgia to be prepared,” CDC spokesman Tom Skinner told CBS 46. Skinner said though mosquitoes may not be spreading the virus in Georgia right now, with more than 40 confirmed travel-related cases, there is no way to be sure. During a news conference Friday afternoon, the head of the CDC said most people who have the virus do not know it.

“We believe that 4 out of 5 people with Zika infections don’t have symptoms so we anticipate that there will certainly have been other infections,” shared CDC Director Dr. Tom Freden.

Someone who traveled abroad brought the Zika virus back with them to Florida. In the Miami area, where the four people were infected by a mosquito bite, government workers are now going door-to-door to warn people about the virus. They are also making sure people drain standing water where mosquitoes can breed and heavily spraying to kill existing mosquitoes. 

“This is an important public threat that we are facing right now as a country,” stated US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy. CBS 46 also spoke one-on-one with the nation's top doctor about the growing threat of Zika, now with confirmed cases of mosquito transmission in the US.

“This just heightens the importance of us making sure that individuals know what steps they can take to prevent themselves from getting the virus to prevent themselves from getting the virus,” Murthy explained. The CDC is urging everyone who lives in areas with the type of mosquito that carries the virus to take action now. They are especially concerned about pregnant woman. One bite from an infected mosquito can cause microcephaly in a fetus and cause a baby to be born with an abnormally small head.

“Wear repellent, remove water from in and around your home, eliminate breeding sites, these are everyday measures we can all take to protect ourselves,” Skinner asserted.

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