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The Most Zika Virus Cases In The United States Are In … New York


SAN JUAN — As of mid-August there are at least 2,260 cases of Zika virus in the United States, and at least another 8,035 confirmed cases of Zika in U.S. territories.

Those numbers, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), paint a clear picture of an obvious upward trend. Less than four months ago, the total number of confirmed Zika cases in the U.S. and U.S. territoriessurpassed 1,000 for the first time. Right now, that number is more than 10 times higher.

In the U.S., more than 99 percent of the 2,260 laboratory-confirmed cases (2,246) are considered to be travel-related cases. The remaining 14 cases, all in Florida (as of August 17), are considered to be locally-acquired cases, according to the CDC. The state of New York has the most confirmed cases in the U.S. (579), followed by Florida (405), California (137), and Texas (108).

Active Zika Virus Transmission in Florida
Active Zika Virus Transmission in Florida (via CDC)

In Florida, two neighborhoods in Miami-Dade County and have been under intense scrutiny due to an outbreak of locally-acquired cases, most likely due to mosquitoes. While the CDC last reported (August 17) the 14 locally-acquired, mosquito-borne cases in the state, current reports have the number of locally-acquired cases much higher.

In U.S. territories, the vast majority of those infected with Zika acquired the virus locally. According to the CDC, there are at least 44 cases in American Samoa (all locally acquired), 102 cases in the U.S. Virgin Islands (101 locally acquired), and 7,889 cases in Puerto Rico (7,855 locally acquired). CDC statistics refer to laboratory-confirmed cases, so it is likely that real numbers are, in fact, much higher.

On August 12, the White House declared a public health emergency in Puerto Rico due to the rapid transmission of the Zika and “its potential effect on pregnant women and children born to pregnant women with Zika.”


Synthetic mosquitoes

One approach to fighting Zika that is being considered in different regions across the globe is the use of synthetic mosquitoes to help suppress the mosquito population and, consequently, lower the risk of local transmission of the virus.

This new method, however, is being met with some opposition. And it also requires funding.

Funding the Zika battle

Back in February, the White House requested $1.9 billion to fund the U.S. battle against Zika virus. But the request remains stalled in Congress six months later and the threat of denial is now greater than ever.

In the midst of stalled funding, other efforts have been put forth. In April, the White House shifted $589 million in unused Ebola funds to combat Zika, and, last month, the CDC announced $60 million in funding to aid both U.S. states and territories in the battle.

Global update

According the latest situation report from the World Health Organization (WHO), 69 countries and territories have reported mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission since 2007 and the vast majority of the reports, 66, have come since 2015. The most recent first report came from the Cayman Islands.

Additionally, at least 15 countries or territories across the globe have now reported microcephaly and/or other central nervous system (CNS) malformations that could be linked to the virus.

Links to birth defects

The link between Zika virus and the serious birth defect microcephaly has long been speculated, and links to birth defects other than microcephaly are also being aggressively researched by scientists around the world.

But there are still many unknowns. There are so many, in fact, that the WHO felt it necessary to publish a pagespecifically devoted to dispelling rumors about Zika and complications associated with the virus.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy has been reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands since 1989. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan.

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