Despite increased surveillance, spraying, and testing, Florida is still experiencing signs of widening Zika virus transmission, based on positive blood bank samples and detection of another positive mosquito pool.
Also, Public Health England found Asian Tiger mosquito eggs in southeast England, a first for that country.
Pool, blood bank detections
According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, an eighth pool of mosquitoes has tested positive for Zika virus in Miami Beach, one of two active transmission zones in Miami-Dade County. The positive sample was from a trap located at 1236 Drexel Ave in Miami Beach.
Despite testing 5,400 mosquito samples across the state, all eight positive traps have come from Miami Beach. According to an online statement, the department said “Miami-Dade County’s Mosquito Control team will continue to conduct inspections to reduce mosquito breeding and perform spray treatments as necessary in a minimum of 200-yard radius around the trap location.”
In addition to the positive mosquito pool, a Seattle Times story yesterday confirmed that Zika virus had been found in a few units of donated blood in Florida. The Food and Drug Administration confirmed this discovery but did not say how many units had been detected.
In July, blood donations stopped in Broward and Miami-Dade counties until Zika testing began. Earlier this year, it was estimated that 1% of all blood donations in Puerto Rico were positive for Zika virus, and many have suggested that a similar trend will be seen in Florida.
In August, FDA officials urged at-risk states (Florida, Texas) to begin testing blood bank donations for Zika virus.
More cases in Miami
The Florida Department of Health (Florida Health) said today there were three new travel cases of Zika in Florida, one in a pregnant woman. There were also two new non-travel related cases, both tied to the Miami Beach transmission zone.
There are now 745 travel-related infections in Florida, and 165 locally acquired cases of Zika. The number of infections involving pregnant women has climbed to 110.
Asian Tiger mosquitoes in the UK
Finally today comes reports out of Kent that the eggs of the Asian Tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) were found for the first time in the United Kingdom. The Asian Tiger mosquito can carry Zika virus, and dengue. Though native to Asia, the bug has been imported to other parts of the world through trade.
Public Health England found 37 Ae albopictus eggs in a trap near a service station in Folkestone, which is in southeast England. Writing in ProMED Mail, the online reporting system of the International Society for Infectious Diseases, Jolyon Medlock, PhD, head of medical entomology and zoonoses ecology for Public Health England said, “Owing to the warmer climate in southern England, the ability for eggs to overwinter, and the connectivity of the lorry/coach park, the potential for establishment and further dissemination requires careful consideration.”