A locally transmitted case of Zika has been reported in Bradenton, making it the first of 2017, the Florida Department of Health reported.
A person started feeling symptoms associated with Zika after returning from a trip to Cuba with their partner, the health department said, but they were not tested for the virus at the time. After investigating, officials found the person infected while in Cuba was bitten by a mosquito in Manatee County. That mosquito then bit the person’s partner.
There is no indication that there is an ongoing transmission of the Zika virus in the area.
Chris Lesser, assistant director of Manatee County Mosquito Control, could not confirm the exact location citing patient confidentiality, but the site was in the city of Bradenton.
The unit was first contacted by the health department on Sept. 27 that there may be a case of Zika in the area.
“We weren’t going to wait for a confirmation,” Lesser said.
Crews immediately inspected the area, got rid of as much standing water as they could and sprayed for adult mosquitoes, of which there were only a few. The insects can breed in as little water as a teaspoon, so it’s important to clear all standing water.
On Oct. 6, Lesser said the health department contacted the unit again to confirm that there was a locally transmitted case. A “much more aggressive response” was conducted, Lesser said, using larvicide and a barrier spray that sits on plants.
As of Thursday, he said there are no further inspections planned. For this time of year, “the numbers (of mosquitoes) we are seeing are extremely low,” Lesser said.
But if a Zika zone were established, which it has not, the health department would specify the location.
In 2017, there have been 187 cases of Zika in Florida, with 154 of them being travel related. This is the first instance of local transmission in 2017, according to the department.
For those who have traveled to areas with Zika, precautions should be made to avoid mosquito bites for at least three weeks upon returning home, the health department said. Condoms should be used to lower the chances of sexual transmission of the virus, and pregnant couples are advised to use them during the entire pregnancy.
All county health departments provide to pregnant women free Zika risk assessment and testing.