Home Daily Blitz Florida Zika Outbreak: Why More Cases Don’t Mean the Outbreak is Growing

Florida Zika Outbreak: Why More Cases Don’t Mean the Outbreak is Growing


abcnews articleThe following is an excerpt from GILLIAN MOHNEY | August 16, 2016 | abcnews.com |

Since a local outbreak of Zika virus was reported in Florida last month, health officials have been going door-to-door to test residents, spraying to control infected mosquitoes and trying to alert the public about the possibility of mosquito infection.

Yet, the number of cases has continued to increase. Yesterday three new cases were reported in Florida, bringing the total number of people infected during the outbreak to 30.

Though this may look concerning at first, experts say increasing numbers do not necessarily mean the outbreak is getting worse. It could be a sign that health officials are doing what they should to stop the outbreak. Their first priority is to find those infected.

"It’s paradoxical. The reasons we’re finding other cases is that the system is working very well," Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center told ABC News. "Expectations have to be tempered with the reality -- namely this is both a mosquito borne virus and a sexually transmitted virus."

Schaffner said since 80 percent of people with Zika don't have symptoms, that can prolong the time it takes to identify new cases -- especially as more people request testing from their doctors or are tested by health department officials canvassing neighborhoods.

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