What you need to know about Zika – Q13 FOX

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Eggs of the aedes aegypti moquito seen through a microscope. The eggs are layed in stagnant waters in populated areas, making public awareness one of the main tools of fighting against the Zika epidemic.

Eggs of the aedes aegypti moquito seen through a microscope. The eggs are layed in stagnant waters in populated areas, making public awareness one of the main tools of fighting against the Zika epidemic.

(CNN) — The mosquito-borne Zika virus is spreading around the globe. Researchers are learning new information about the virus every day. Here is the latest news and research.

November 20, 2016: Florida Keys to begin using GMO mosquitoes

As new locally transmitted cases of the Zika virus continue to be reported daily by Florida health officials daily, residents of the Keys have given the OK to release genetically modified mosquitoes in an experimental effort to stop the Aedes aegypti, which carries Zika and other viruses. The GMO mosquitoes create a protein that interferes with the cell activity in disease-carrying female mosquitoes, killing their offspring before they reach adulthood, which is when they begin infecting humans with their bite.

Having been given the go-ahead from the FDA in August, British company Oxitec plans to begin the trial early next year and has said that if all goes well, Miami could get the mosquitoes later in the year.

November 18, 2016: WHO declares end to public health emergency

The Zika virus outbreak and related clusters of microcephaly are no longer a public health emergency of international concern, the World Health Organization said, ending the declaration it made in February. “We are not downgrading the importance of Zika. By placing this as a long-term program of work, we are saying Zika is here to stay,” said Dr. David Heymann, chairman of the emergency committee on Zika virus and microcephaly, which made the announcement.

September 29, 2016: Utah man may have been infected by tears or sweat

A new report says a Utah man could have become infected with the Zika virus from the sweat or tears of a family member. The report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, details how the 38-year-old became ill in July after aiding in the care of a 73-year-old relative who died from Zika-related illness in June. The virus was not confirmed until after his death.

Previously, the Salt Lake County Health Department said it was unclear how the man became infected.

September 28, 2016: Federal Zika emergency funding bill passed

Congress approves a bill that designates $1.1 billion in federal money to fight Zika. Though short of the $1.9 billion requested in February, this funding is welcomed by many organizations and experts working to combat the virus. According to the House Appropriations Committee, $476 million will go to the CDC, $230 million will go to the National Institutes of Health, and $141 million will be designated for local assistance at the state and county level.

September 19, 2016: Miami neighborhood declared Zika-free

Florida Gov. Rick Scott and the Centers for Disease Control announce the lifting of a ban on travel to the small Miami neighborhood of Wynwood, saying that aggressive mosquito-control efforts have been successful in reducing the population of Zika-carrying mosquitoes. Wynwood was the subject of a historic ban on domestic travel when, on August 1, the CDC told pregnant women not to travel to the 1-square-mile area of active Zika transmission.

However, just two days earlier, on September 17, Florida officials warned that a Zika transmission zone in Miami Beach has tripled in size.

August 12, 2016: Public health emergency declared in Puerto Rico as Zika cases surpass 10,000

The Puerto Rico Department of Health announces that there have been 10,690 cases of the Zika virus confirmed, including 1,035 pregnant women. The Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency there at the request of the governor. Secretary Sylvia Burwell said efforts are underway to fight the virus with a priority on protecting pregnant women.

August 11, 2016: Agency redirects money to fight Zika

Burwell is redirecting $81 million from elsewhere in the department to continue efforts to fight the Zika virus. She said in a letter to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi that she was exercising her authority to transfer $34 million from within the National Institutes of Health and $47 million from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to keep “Zika-related activities” going. Without that, she said, the unused Ebola money they have been using since April will run out by the end of August and prohibit phase II of the Zika vaccine trial.

August 10, 2016: Virus found in semen six months after exposure

The Zika virus was found in the semen of two Italian men at least six months after they were exposed to the virus in Haiti. The cases are published online by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. In one case, “persistent shedding” of the virus was found in semen for six months after the man returned. In the other, the virus was found in semen six months after his symptoms began. Previously, researchers had found the virus in semen as long as three months after exposure.

August 9, 2016: Zika may cause joint problems in babies

Babies born to mothers who were infected with the Zika virus are also developing joint deformities, particularly in their arms and legs, according to a study published in the medical journal BMJ. Researchers in Brazil detail seven instances of the condition, called arthrogryposis, and say the problem is not orthopedic in that scans of the joints and tissues did not reveal anything. Therefore, they conclude it is a neurological problem but recommend that these babies be seen by an orthopedic specialist. More research is needed, but this adds to the evidence that Zika-related birth defects are not limited to microcephaly.

August 2, 2016: Human clinical trials begin for first potential Zika vaccines

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases begins infecting healthy volunteers with an experimental DNA-based Zika vaccine. The research team hopes to enroll 80 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 35 at three locations. Participants will be followed for 44 weeks after receiving the vaccine at various intervals for 20 weeks.

A few days earlier, Inovio Pharmaceuticals began its own clinical trial for a different potential Zika vaccine among healthy volunteers in Miami. That trial will include 40 healthy volunteers.

August 1, 2016: CDC issues historic travel warning in US

In an unprecedented move, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned pregnant women to steer clear of the Wynwood neighborhood in downtown Miami. This is the area where at least 15 people have been infected with the Zika virus by local mosquitoes carrying the disease.

July 29, 2016: Health officials confirm local mosquito transmission in the US

Florida health officials say four individuals in Miami-Dade and Broward counties were infected with the Zika virus by local mosquitoes. These are the first known cases of the virus being transmitted by mosquitoes in the continental United States.

“As we anticipated, Zika is here,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC.

Officials believe that the local transmission is confined to a small area north of downtown Miami and that transmission occurred in early July.

July 21, 2016: Zika virus found in common Culex mosquito in Brazil

Researchers at Brazil’s Fiocruz research institute announce that they have found the Zika virus in some Culex mosquitoes in Recife, a coastal city that has been labeled as the “hot zone” for the virus. Culex mosquitoes are sometimes called common house mosquitoes. The presence of the virus in these mosquitoes alone does not mean they can transmit the virus. Experts maintain that Aedes mosquitoes are the known vector.

July 18, 2016: Health officials investigate how family member of person who died of Zika became infected

A family member of an elderly Utah man who died from Zika-related illness in June is infected with the virus, the Utah Department of Health said. The 38-year-old man has not traveled to an area where the virus is circulating and has not had sexual relations with anyone who has. Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes do not live in Utah, although officials are looking for them or any other mosquito carrying the virus. Other relatives and health care workers who treated the deceased individual are also being screened for the virus. According to the CDC, the person who died had “uniquely high amounts of virus — more than 100,000 times higher than seen in other samples of infected people — in his blood.”

July 15, 2016: Female-to-male sexual transmission of Zika reported

The CDC reports the first known case of a woman with the Zika virus infecting her male sexual partner with the virus after they had unprotected vaginal intercourse. “This is the first documented case of sexual transmission of Zika from a woman to her sex partner and adds to the growing body of knowledge about the sexual transmission of Zika,” the agency said.

All previous reported cases of sexual transmission of Zika have been transmitted by a man to his sexual partner.

The CDC said it was updating recommendations to protect against sexual transmission of the virus after travel to those who could become infected by a female.

July 8, 2016: Health officials report first Zika-related death in the continental US

Utah health officials report that a 73-year-old man who died in June was the first Zika-related death in the continental United States. Lab results confirming the unidentified individual was infected with the virus were not available until after the person died. The Utah resident was immunocompromised due to prostate cancer. He was infected with the virus while traveling to Mexico, where the virus is circulating.

June 16, 2016: CDC reports six Zika-infected babies in the US

The CDC says it will begin reporting outcomes of babies born to Zika-infected pregnant women. In doing so, it reported that three babies have been born with birth defects in the United States. It also said three pregnancy losses (including miscarriage, stillbirths and terminations) had occurred. All six of these cases are among infants infected with the virus before or during birth.

June 15, 2016: Babies born to women with Zika late in pregnancy fare better

A study of pregnant women infected with the virus in Colombia found that more than 90% of those infected with the virus during their third trimester gave birth to babies who seem to be healthy, with no effects from the virus. The majority of women in the study infected earlier in their pregnancies had not yet given birth, so the outcomes are still unknown, but the authors of this new study believe their findings suggest that the infection later in pregnancy is not lined to structural abnormalities in a developing fetus. Previous research indicated that the infection causes problems at any point during pregnancy.

June 2, 2016: Case report questions whether Zika can be transmitted by kissing

Authors of a case report published in the New England Journal of Medicine say, “Transmission of Zika through saliva is an important question that should be investigated.” The report details how how a man who had traveled to Rio infected his female sexual partner, who had not traveled. Her urine and saliva tested positive for the virus, but a vaginal swab did not. The researchers believe she was infected via oral sex but said they cannot rule out the possibility that the virus was transmitted by other body fluids, such as “pre-ejaculate secretions or saliva exchanged through deep kissing.”

May 31, 2016: Baby born in N.J. with Zika-related microcephaly

A baby girl was born with “significant microcephaly” at Hackensack University Medical Center. The mother, who does not want to be identified, is from Honduras. Doctors believe she contracted the virus during her second trimester of pregnancy. She traveled to New Jersey, where she has relatives, in search of better medical care, knowing that her baby was at risk for having Zika-related problems.

May 31, 2016: WHO updates guidelines for sex after travel to Zika areas

The WHO updates its recommendations for preventing sexual transmission of the the Zika virus. The revised guidelines say individuals who have traveled to areas where the virus is spreading should abstain or use a condom for eight weeks after returning home. Previously, the recommendation was to wait four weeks. In addition, men who have Zika symptoms should take these measures for six months. The agency later added clarification that couples should be “informed about the options to consider before conceiving [a child] including delaying pregnancy.”

May 26, 2016: Stronger evidence of eye problems among babies born with Zika-related birth defects

Researchers looked at infants born in Brazil between May and December 2015 with microcephaly and found that those with smaller heads and those whose mothers had symptoms of Zika virus during their first trimester of pregnancy were more likely to have eye abnormalities. The findings build on previous research into the impact the virus-related birth defect has on vision.

May 25, 2016: Report estimates pregnant women with Zika have up to 13% risk of have an affected baby

A report published in the New England Journal of Medicine estimates the risk that a pregnant woman infected with the Zika virus during the first trimester of pregnancy has a one to 13% chance that her baby will have microcephaly. The researchers from Harvard and the CDC also found the risk was “negligible” among women infected with the virus later in their pregnancy.

May 23, 2016: Researcher accidentally infects herself with the Zika virus

A researcher at the University of Pittsburgh accidentally infected herself with the Zika virus while conducting an experiment in a lab, the university and local health officials later said. She developed symptoms nine days later. She has since recovered and returned to work.

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