Hur­ri­cane af­ter­math may add to chal­lenges in fight against Zika

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Steven Ross John­son

Pub­lic health ex­perts say Hur­ri­cane Matthew left pools of stag­nant wa­ter ripe for mos­quito breed­ing in ar­eas that were al­ready vul­ner­a­ble to the breed linked to the spread of Zika virus.

In Florida, where all 105 of the lo­cally ac­quired cases of Zika re­ported have orig­i­nated, health of­fi­cials last month found mos­qui­toes that tested pos­i­tive for the virus, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion. For­tu­nately Mi­ami-Dade County—where the first lo­cal cases of Zika in­fec­tion were re­ported—was spared the heav­i­est rain­fall from the hur­ri­cane.

Still, ef­forts to­ward con­tain­ing the virus will likely be on hold there while the re­gion at­tempts to clean up and ad­dress more press­ing pub­lic health mat­ters such as wa­ter con­tam­i­na­tion.

Af­ter Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina in 2005, there was a spike in the num­ber of cases of West Nile re­ported in Louisiana af­ter the floods sub­sided. De­spite evac­u­a­tion ef­forts that led to a 28% de­cline in the pop­u­la­tion, the num­ber of West Nile cases jumped from an av­er­age of 30 in 2005 to 45 in 2006. In af­fected parts of Mis­sis­sippi, the num­ber of re­ported cases rose from an av­er­age of 23 in 2005 to 55 in 2006.

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