PROTECTING HUMAN POTENTIAL
In May, 2015, the Western Hemisphere’s first case of the mosquito-borne ZIKA VIRUS was diagnosed in Brazil. By the following February, that country’s government had mobilized 220,000 soldiers – about 60% of its armed forces – in a widespread education and warning effort to 350 cities and towns on reducing the insect’s breeding grounds.
The virus first arrived in the United States in the summer of 2016 via Florida, with the first identified outbreaks in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. After nearly 4,000 cases of microcephaly in Brazil, Florida’s public health organizations jumped into action. They employed communication and public outreach strategies and tactical mosquito control initiatives that utilized adulticides and aerial applications. Within a few weeks of the first local transmission, Florida Governor Rick Scott declared Miami Zika-free.
Mosquito-borne disease outbreaks can occur without warning – but with a coordinated community response, they can be held at bay. After more than 1,300 Zika cases were reported in Florida in 2016, that number had dropped to four through the summer of 2017.
The virus has also been isolated from a number of arboreal mosquito species in the Aedes genus, such as A. africanus, A. apicoargenteus, A. furcifer, A. hensilli, A. luteocephalus and A. vittatus.
This cross-section of the Zika virus shows the viral envelope composed of envelope proteins (pink) and membranes proteins (purple) embedded in the lipid membrane (white). The apsid proteins (orange) are shown interacting with the RNA genome (yellow) at the center of the virus.*
The two-pronged approach of wide area larvicide spraying and traditional adulticiding helped Miami-Dade become the first district ever to break the Zika transmission cycle.