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Miami's Zika Outbreak Began Months Before It Was First Detected


A groundskeeper at Pinecrest Gardens sprays pesticide to kill mosquitoes in Miami-Dade County, Fla., in 2016.  Gaston De Cardenas/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Nature - Genomic epidemiology reveals multiple introductions of Zika virus into the United States - by Greg Allen - May 24, 2017

Last year's Zika outbreak in Miami likely started in the spring of 2016, with the virus introduced multiple times before it was detected, researchers say. And most of those cases originated in the Caribbean.

The study, published Wednesday in Nature, examined more than 250 cases of local Zika transmission in three Miami neighborhoods. Researchers analyzed 39 Zika virus genomes isolated from 32 people who had been infected and seven Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the species that carries Zika.

Comparison of differences in those genomes finds the virus was introduced by travelers at least four and perhaps as many as 40 different times as early as March 2016. Local transmission of Zika wasn't confirmed in Miami until late July.

The study concludes that Miami's Zika outbreak was caused mostly by infected travelers arriving from the Caribbean, the region with the highest incidence of the disease.



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Comments - by Maggie Fox - May 24, 2017

The Zika virus was spreading in northeastern Brazil for as long as a year before anyone noticed, and for weeks and months in places like Miami and Honduras, new genomic studies show.

Their findings show that new infections can get a good foothold before alarm bells sound, but also demonstrate that keeping a closer watch can pay off.

And there's some reassuring news for the U.S. — the virus does not seem to be able to spread in Florida as effectively as it does in Brazil, and using pesticides to kill mosquitoes worked to stop it.

But travelers from affected areas will almost certainly continue to bring it into the U.S. as they have been doing, the researchers noted.

CLICK HERE - READ COMPLETE ARTICLE - Zika Virus Was Spreading Quietly a Year Before Anyone Knew, Gene Study Shows - May 24, 2017

Findings from three new Zika genome studies add more pieces to the puzzle about how the virus became established in Brazil and spread through the Americas, and all carry the common theme that Zika was already present long before it was detected in humans.

The studies, all published in the latest issue of Nature today, dovetail with each other and represent extensive collaboration between research institutions and governments and the use of nearly real-time genetic sequencing directly from patient samples, arming outbreak investigators with valuable, more timely information.

One of the studies looked at the genetic family trees of Zika viruses from Florida, revealing at least four introductions into the state, all from the Caribbean.

CLICK HERE - READ COMPLETE ARTICLE - Zika studies uncover early spread, factors fueling Florida outbreak

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Nature - Zika virus evolution and spread in the Americas

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Nature - Establishment and cryptic transmission of Zika virus in Brazil and the Americas

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Nature - Genomic epidemiology reveals multiple introductions of Zika virus into the United States


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