County health director: Count on more Zika-related birth defects
WEST PALM BEACH —
Sick of hearing about Zika already? Get used to it as more birth defects related to the virus are expected in 2017 in Florida and throughout the U.S.
This summer, there will be a full-court press by health officials against Zika.
“It’s not something to be taken lightly,” said Dr. Alina Alonso, head of the Palm Beach County Health Department, in an interview with The Palm Beach Post.
The main emphasis again is going to be on pregnant women. She said the CDC expects to see a 20-fold higher proportion of Zika-affected birth defects compared to those seen in 2013-14, before Zika came to the Americas.
Before 2014, there were three cases of Zika-caused microcephaly for every 1,000 births. That number is now up to 60 cases per 1,000. “That’s a large increase,” Alonso said.
Microcephaly is a rare neurological condition in which an infant’s head is significantly smaller than normal.
Zika testing advised for pregnant women in 6 Texas counties
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Texas health officials are recommending expanded Zika virus testing for pregnant women in six South Texas counties.
The Texas Department of State Health Services said Friday it’s recommending testing for women in their first and second trimesters in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata counties.
Late last year there were six cases of local mosquitoes transmitting the virus to people in Brownsville, located in Cameron County.
U.S. blood banks confident blood supply safe from Zika virus
SATURDAY, April 8, 2017 (HealthDay News) — U.S. blood banks are confident they have the tools to protect America’s blood supply from possible new Zika virus outbreaks during the upcoming mosquito season.
A transfusion of Zika-tainted blood can pass the virus to an unsuspecting recipient, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.