As the mosquito-borne Zika virus tears through Latin America and the Caribbean, health officials in the United States say it’s only a matter of time before someone is affected here.
But Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday that “outbreaks of Zika in the continental U.S. will likely be limited.”
The mosquito-borne disease has raged in South America and other regions for months. The World Health Organization said it continues to spread. McClatchy
While the mosquito that carries the virus, Aedes aegypti,is common in South Florida, Schuchat said several factors in the United States work in our favor: U.S. urban areas are less densely populated, air-conditioning is more widespread and mosquito control efforts are generally stronger.
“We are very aggressive when it comes to mosquito control,” said Beth Ranson, of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District. The district has been working with Oxitec, a biotech company, on developing a genetically modified male mosquito to mate with female mosquitoes, which would produce offspring that won’t make it to adulthood. The company has said trials conducted in Brazil have reduced the Aedes aegyptipopulation by 90 percent. The Food and Drug Administration is examining the proposal.