Zika in 30 seconds: What you need to know today
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Have 30 seconds? Here’s what you need to know about the Zika virus.

Friday, Dec. 2

What’s new this week

  • Texas joins Florida as the second state to see a locally transmitted case of Zika, with its first case being a woman in South Texas who is not pregnant. (STAT)
  • The United Kingdom sees its first case of sexually transmitted Zika in a woman whose partner had traveled to an affected area. (Telegraph)
  • Add glaucoma to the list. Yale researchers say that Zika can cause the eye disease in infants who were exposed to the virus in utero (Science Daily)
  • Zika was thought to get into early neural cells through a specific receptor. Harvard scientists say that may not be the only way. (Medical Express)

Number of the week: 34,000

The number of Zika cases in Puerto Rico, which is seeing a slowdown in new infections, but bracing for the full effect of those infections for years to come (NPR)

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On people’s lips

“All radiologists have to know about these typical symptoms because sometimes you don’t see the symptoms of Zika virus in the pregnant mother.”

— Dr. Bianca Guedes Ribeiro, Clínica de Diagnóstico por Imagem in Rio de Janeiro, stressing the role of radiologists in diagnosing Zika in fetal brains when other symptoms aren’t obvious in pregnant women. (Medscape)

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Friday, Nov. 18

Zika was one of the hot topics at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene, held this week in Atlanta. The conference overview is here. News from the conference is included below.

The big news this week

  • Status matters: If the WHO downgrades Zika from “public health emergency” this week, worries abound that research funding will suffer (STAT)
  • The way Zika presents in South America could be because of co-infection with dengue and chikungunya (NBC)
  • Zika is tough, but weak: It can live for hours on certain hard surfaces, but it’s easily killed with disinfectants (Science Daily)
  • Genetics? Vaccine history? Scientists are puzzled by the relationship between severity of Zika-related birth defects and geography (SciAm)

Quote of the Day

“I go knock on one door. It closes. I go to another. It also closes. It’s so hard. We feel so desperate, lost. And it hurts.”

— Fabiane Lopes, a woman in Brazil whose 11-month old baby, Valentina, was born with Zika-related microcephaly, on what she says are broken promises of financial and medical support from the Brazilian government. (NPR)

Numbers of the day: 800,000 and 40

In the wake of mandatory Zika testing for donated blood, the number of donated blood samples tested nationwide for Zika, and the number that came up positive, indicating that Zika infection is still pretty rare in the US. (NYT)

Zika in 30 will be taking next Friday off in observance of Thanksgiving in the US. Have a great week, and we’ll see you in December!


Friday, Nov. 11

The big news this week

  • Zika infections in Puerto Rico are skewed toward women, a new report from CDC says, which may be due to its sexual transmission (NBC News)
  • Locally transmitted Zika infections continue in Florida. The count is now up to 222 (News4Jax)
  • The island nation of Palau has reported what appears to be its first local case of Zika (USA Today)
  • Federal scientists have begun human testing of a second possible Zika vaccine, after launching the first trial in August (NPR)

On people’s lips

“We really came out stronger than ever.” — Albert Garcia, vice chairman of the Wynwood Business Improvement District in Miami, on how business has rebounded post-Zika (The Real Deal)

Legislative limbo

At the ballot box on Tuesday, residents of the Florida Keys expressed mixed feelings about field trials of a genetically modified mosquito made by Oxitec — the county voted yes, but the town of Key Haven, which had been the planned release site, said no thanks. Though the referendum was nonbinding, most members of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District said they would honor it. Now, Wired reports, the board will try to work with the FDA to find a different release site. “We’ll be looking at where mosquitoes are, and come up with some other sites of where to release them based on where people voted yes,” said chairman Phil Goodman.


Friday, Nov. 4

The big news this week

  • New research finds that Zika damages mouse testes. Does it do the same in humans? (STAT)
  • A big fight is brewing in the Dallas-Fort Worth area over releasing public health data that includes ZIP codes of people infected with Zika (NBCDFW)
  • It will soon be summer in Brazil, but officials there say another wave of Zika infections is not expected (Reuters)
  • Zika has hit Colombia hard, but so far there have been relatively few cases of microcephaly (New York Times)
  • Zika may become endemic, public health officials say. But people don’t buy it, and offer all kinds of ideas to fight it (USA Today)

On people’s lips

“People would like a solution and they would like a non-toxic solution,” Miami Beach Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, on releasing GMO mosquitoes in parts of Miami Beach to combat Zika (Miami Herald)

In case you missed it

  • Puerto Rico reported its first baby born with Zika-related microcephaly, while a baby born in Vietnam is also suspected of having Zika-related microcephaly, which would make it the country’s first such case (New York Times and Reuters)
  • Millions of genetically altered mosquitoes could be released in Brazil to combat diseases, such as Zika, that are spread by non-altered insects (AFP)
  • On social media, there’s more true information than false, but the bad info gets more shares and comments (Fox News)

Friday, Oct. 28

The big news this week

  • The private sector is stepping in to provide funding for anti-Zika efforts, as public money falls short (USA Today)
  • Scientists are baffled by how Zika has played out in Latin America, in particular by the pattern of babies born with Zika-related microcephaly (Washington Post)
  • Mosquitoes infected with the Wolbachia bacteria will be released in an attempt to combat diseases spread by the insects, including Zika (STAT)
  • In times of economic crisis, diseases like Zika thrive (STAT)
  • A consortium of 25 universities and public health institutions has launched ZikaPLAN to combat the virus. Among its goals is to fill in knowledge gaps and build sustainable response capacity in Latin America for Zika and other emerging diseases (press release)
  • Florida has another Zika “hot zone,” but some fear it’s not getting enough attention (AP)

Taking drastic steps against Zika

Zika remains a threat in Miami and pregnant women there are resorting to drastic, sometimes head-turning strategies to avoid infection. (Miami Herald)

On people’s lips

“Zika and other diseases spread by (the Aedes aegypti mosquito) are really not controllable with current technologies. We will see this become endemic in the hemisphere.” — CDC Director Thomas Frieden on the possibility that Zika is here to stay in the US. (USA Today)

In case you missed it

  • The CDC is making $70 million in supplemental funding available to states, cities, and territories battling Zika, while the European Union is investing €45 million ($49 million) to combat the virus (CDC and European Union)
  • Florida’s Surgeon General is demanding a Zika plan from Miami-Dade County (Miami Herald)
  • Heat Biologics has created a subsidiary called Zolovax to develop vaccines and is working with the University of Miami to develop a Zika vaccine. Meanwhile, Sanofi struck a Zika vaccine deal with Brazil’s Fiocruz health center (WRAL and Reuters)
  • Myanmar confirmed its first case of Zika (Reuters)

Friday, Oct. 21

The big news this week

  • The CDC will receive $394 million from the recently approved $1.1 billion in federal funding for Zika. The NIH is getting $152 million, and the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund gets $387 million (Reuters)
  • US health officials are advising all pregnant women who recently visited Miami-Dade County be tested for Zika (AP)
  • Zika tainted blood continues to be a problem in Florida (CBS Local)
  • Babies in Venezuela born with Zika-related microcephaly face dire challenges amid government silence (Reuters)

On people’s lips

“Impressive numbers indeed, but to utilize them as the sole measure of control would be folly indeed, particularly considering the capacity of both mosquitoes and bats to transmit diseases.” — American Mosquito Control Association on potentially using bats to control Zika-carrying mosquitoes, as a Miami Beach commissioner proposes. (Washington Post)

Image of the week

Zika Peta print ad

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is wading into the Zika fight, saying that monkey research facilities in Florida could be hotbeds for the virus. Laboratory and public health officials are fighting back, saying that the fears are unfounded. (WGCU)

In case you missed it

  • Mothers in Brazil are struggling to care for their children born with Zika-related disorders (AP)
  • While many unknowns about Zika in Southeast Asia remain, some indications suggest that the virus may not have the same devastating effects that it had in the Americas (Washington Post)
  • Two new studies are bolstering the idea that the Zika virus can remain in a woman’s vagina for weeks (Fox News and the Lancet)
  • A new pool of mosquitoes in Miami Beach have tested positive for Zika (CBS)

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Friday, Oct. 14

The big news this week

  • Zika hits another Miami neighborhood called Little River with five cases diagnosed (STAT)
  • A lack of resources among laboratories has made it difficult for some mothers-to-be to find out if they may be carrying the Zika virus (Kaiser Health News)
  • Who won’t be getting any dedicated funding from the recently approved $1.1 billion package to fight Zika? The FDA (Bloomberg)
  • Federal officials from several departments discuss what it takes to make a safe Zika vaccine (NEJM)

On people’s lips

“As the season begins to change, the mosquito threat naturally begins to go down, so in this sense, time is on our side” — Ben Beard, chief of the Bacterial Diseases Branch in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, on whether there will be a resurgence of Zika-carrying mosquitoes because of standing water after Hurricane Matthew (CNN)

In case you missed it

  • The WHO expects the number of Zika cases in the Asia-Pacific region to continue rising (AP)
  • Health issues for babies born with Zika-related microcephaly a year ago are mounting (AP)
  • The number of Zika cases in Florida has topped 1,000 (Patch)
  • What’s after Zika? Four insect-based diseases that may be on the horizon (Scientific American)

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Friday, Oct. 7

The big news this week

  • As Hurricane Matthew makes it way up the Florida coast, there is hope that wind will blow away what mosquitoes are there, but there are concerns that pooling water will breed more (the Atlantic)
  • The fight over Zika funding may be over, but states may have to wait months to get any money. And the long delay in getting the funding came at a heavy cost (Washington Post and Reuters)
  • The CDC reports that Zika infection in children typically triggers only mild disease. The agency added, though, that doctors should still monitor them for brain-related side effects (STAT)
  • A study adds to the growing evidence that the Zika virus can lead to a wide variety of severe birth defects beyond microcephaly (Wall Street Journal)
  • Alphabet’s Verily is developing technology for sterilized mosquitoes in order to combat diseases carried by the insects (MIT Technology Review)
  • Meanwhile, the FDA approved Oxitec’s plans to test genetically modified mosquitoes in Key Haven, Fla., but residents there have other ideas (Bloomberg)

Number of the week: $1 billion

The size of the US market for a Zika vaccine, according to Joseph Kim, chief executive of Inovio Pharmaceuticals. (Reuters)

Fighting Zika in Miami

Anxiety about what may come, concerns about aerial spraying, and unknowns about the Zika virus have made fighting it a challenge in Miami, the epicenter of the disease in the US. (PBS NewsHour)

Zika Miami spraying
Alan Diaz/APA Miami-Dade County mosquito control worker sprays around a home in the Wynwood area of Miami. Dealing with the unknown has made fighting Zika a challenge in the city.

In case you missed it

  • The CDC updated its recommendations to prevent sexual transmission of Zika (CDC)
  • More Zika-carrying mosquitoes have been captured in Miami Beach (Miami Herald)
  • New research bolsters concerns that Zika can cause Guillain-Barré in adults (Baltimore Sun)

Friday, Sept. 30

Big news from this week

  • Thailand is reporting its first cases of Zika-related microcephaly, just days after the CDC released travel warnings to Southeast Asia. Some 350 people have reported Zika infection in Thailand, including 33 pregnant women. In Singapore, there are nearly 400 reported cases of Zika infection, including 16 pregnant women. (Reuters)
  • The CDC is urging pregnant women to avoid traveling in 11 Southeast Asian countries due to concerns about Zika. While some people in the affected areas seem to have developed immunity to Zika, most Americans have not, the CDC says. Pregnant women who have recently traveled to the countries should get tested for the virus. (STAT)
  • After months of wrangling, the Senate approved a budget deal that includes $1.1 billion to fund anti-Zika efforts. The money will go toward developing a Zika vaccine, health care in areas hard-hit by the virus, and efforts to control mosquitoes. (STAT)
  • A CDC researcher claims that the agency has been using a new Zika test that is inferior to an established test, and it has been hiding from state and local laboratories differences in how the tests perform. According to Robert Lanciotti, who filed a whistleblower retaliation claim, says the newer test misses almost 40 percent of Zika infections. The CDC says it investigated and that improvements are being made to the established test. Officials added that it was reasonable in withholding test data from state public health labs, as the information could have created “considerable confusion during an ongoing emergency response.” (Washington Post)
  • University of Utah health officials now believe that a man died earlier this year from Zika infection. Originally they said he died “with” Zika, but that other factors were likely responsible for his death. But this week, they made it clear that they now believe that Zika was the cause of death. (STAT)
  • Meanwhile, the man’s son also contracted the virus, and officials say that he may have done so by touching his father’s tears or sweat with his bare hands, though they are uncertain about the exact mode of transmission. The father had a viral load 100,000 times the normal level of the virus, and a doctor who treated both the father and the son says that there is no risk of getting the virus by the shaking the hand of someone “who has a typical Zika infection.” (AP)

On people’s lips

“No one’s really sure of the magnitude of what we will be dealing with.” — Dr. Fan Tait, a pediatric neurologist and an associate director at the American Academy of Pediatrics, talking about Zika in Puerto Rico. Pediatricians are bracing themselves for the first round of Zika-exposed babies to be born on the island in the next few weeks. (New York Times)

In case you missed it

  • Using a combination of two chemicals successfully reduced the number of mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami, the CDC reports (STAT)
  • Sanofi and its vaccine business arm Sanofi Pasteur were awarded a $43.2 million BARDA grant to manufacture an inactivated Zika vaccine for Phase 2 development (Sanofi)
  • Singapore is exploring the creation of a surveillance program for babies born to mothers who were infected with Zika (Reuters)
  • CDC issued an interim travel guidance for St. Kitts and Nevis (CDC)

Friday, Sept. 23

Good morning. After today’s edition, Zika in 30 Seconds is going weekly. We’ll send you the latest news each Friday, or more often if there’s a big story. In the meantime, please continue to visit statnews.com for additional coverage.

The big news right now

  • Florida Governor Rick Scott is using $25 million in state funds to help develop a Zika vaccine (AP)
  • Proposed legislation that provides $1.1 billion in funding for anti-Zika efforts has bipartisan support in the US Senate, but other issues are delaying passage of a budget bill (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Arizona Family Health Partnership will use a federal grant of about $250,000 to provide condoms in seven counties with a high likelihood of the prevalence of the mosquitoes that transmit Zika (Azfamily.com)

On people’s lips

“I’m a mother, and I can only imagine how devastated I would have been if my child had a very serious birth defect because of an illness. So to be able to save other mothers from this potential heartache would be wonderful.” — Virginia Bliss, a volunteer on whom a prospective DNA-based vaccine for Zika is being tested. (CNN)

Today’s must-reads

  • Concerns about the aerial spraying of the insecticide naled drove this expectant mother from Miami Beach (Los Angeles Times)
  • The Zika virus may pose workplace challenges: Here’s what employers can do to deal with it (National Law Review)

Thursday, Sept. 22

The big news right now

  • Brazil’s attorney general is recommending aerial insecticide spraying not be done to combat mosquitoes that may carry the Zika virus (Wall Street Journal)
  • Fall’s here and temperatures may be falling, but in parts of the US South, the threat of Zika may not narrow substantially until November (Weather Channel)

On people’s lips

“Zika will be one of the tools used by mind controllers and the ruling elite to move us toward mass vaccination and total government control over our lives.” — Writer and anti-vaxxer John P. Thomas, who says Zika does not cause microcephaly. His views, among others, concern public health officials, who believe the spread of misinformation could prevent people from taking precautions or seeking treatment.

Today’s must-reads

  • While owners in the travel and tourism industry in Miami are concerned about Zika’s impact on revenue, the CEO of Disney isn’t (Motley Fool)
  • Florida reported one new case of non-travel-related Zika transmission (press statement)

Wednesday, Sept. 21

The big news right now

  • Patients who take drugs derived from blood plasma and urine that originate in Zika-affected areas are not at increased risk of infection (Reuters)
  • Quest Diagnostics launched a Zika test authorized for emergency use (NBC)
  • In addition to the CDC’s help, Florida is buying new supplies and equipment on its own and hiring more workers to expedite Zika test results (Miami Herald)
  • The travel and hotel industries are pressing Congress to act on Zika funding (The Hill)

On people’s lips

“First, we took money from other infections. We borrowed money from ourselves from malaria and TB.” — Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on how federal health officials have had to divert money used to study other diseases to Zika because of a lack on congressional action on Zika funding (Washington Post)

Today’s must-reads

  • Even men with vasectomies may pass Zika onto their partners (Live Science)
  • The CDC purchased $2.5 million in laboratory supplies and equipment to help states, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Department of Defense labs increase their Zika testing capabilities (CDC)
  • Four new cases of locally transmitted Zika were recorded in Miami-Dade County (News Service of Florida)

Tuesday, Sept. 20

The big news right now

  • The CDC lifted its travel advisory urging pregnant women to avoid the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami (Houston Chronicle)
  • US senators have resolved a key issue that has stalled federal Zika funding, money that would go from Planned Parenthood to partner clinics in Puerto Rico, as Congress moved closer toward a budget agreement (Washington Post)

On people’s lips

“That’s just dreaming — it’s totally unrealistic.” — Duane J. Gubler, a former director of the vector-borne diseases division of the CDC on Florida health officials’ insistence that Miami’s Zika transmission is limited to a few square miles (New York Times)

Mosquito wisecracks

A new video series featuring wisecracking mosquitoes has launched to spread the word about Zika. Initially aimed at Cape Verde, the series aims to educate people about behaviors that may promote mosquito transmission of the virus and steps they can take to reduce the risk of spreading the disease.

A video series on Zika features snarky mosquitoes giving advice (Z30)
Chocolate Moose Media via VimeoA video series on Zika features snarky mosquitoes giving advice.

Today’s must-reads

  • Federal agencies are being told to take extra precautions to protect their employees against Zika (Washington Post)
  • A pregnant health reporter describes her experience trying to get tested in Miami (NPR)

Monday, Sept. 19

The big news right now

  • Want to be tested for Zika? It’s harder than you think (New York Times)
  • Florida Governor Rick Scott is heading to Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood to declare it Zika-free (USA Today)
  • Health ministers in Southeast Asia are banding together to fight Zika (Channel News Asia)

Number(s) of the day: 85 and 39

According to a survey conducted by the March of Dimes and the University of Chicago in August, 85 percent of Americans get their Zika info from TV or radio, but only 39 percent of them trust that information. (Scientific American)

Today’s must-reads

  • How hard is it to develop a foolproof test for Zika infection? Hard (Kaiser Health News)
  • Zika insurance: More overseas insurers are getting in the game, but coverage varies (Straits Times)

Saturday/Sunday, Sept. 17-18

The big news right now

  • Two more cases of locally acquired Zika were confirmed in Miami Beach, while a fifth batch of mosquitoes trapped in South Beach tested positive for the virus (Miami Herald)
  • Thailand officials will hit homeowners with criminal charges if they do not remove mosquito breeding grounds found on their properties (AP)
  • Florida Governor Rick Scott authorized another $10 million in state spending to fight Zika (WUFT)
  • Scott also tripled the Zika infection zone in Miami Beach, and it now includes the trendy Fontainebleau hotel. (CNN)

Number of the day: 2,000

More than 2,000 cases of Zika were reported in Puerto Rico in the past week, raising the total number to almost 20,000 cases. That includes 1,706 pregnant women. (AP)

Today’s must-reads

  • What makes Miami residents more fearful – Zika or aerial pesticide spraying? Some Miami residents have become exceedingly skittish of the Zika fix – pesticide sprays – outweighing fear of infection with the dangerous virus. About 200 people packed a Miami Beach City Commission meeting this week, and some cursed elected officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about aerial spraying over South Beach. (ABC News)

Friday, Sept 16

The big news right now

  • Exposure to the Zika virus makes a baby more than 50 times more likely to be born with microcephaly (STAT)
  • The CDC will send seven lab technicians to Florida to help the state handle a heavy caseload of Zika testing, which has resulted in long waits for results (New York Times)
  • Florida reported seven new cases of locally acquired Zika cases — six in Miami-Dade County, one in Palm Beach County (Palm Beach Post)
  • Eleven cases of Zika have been diagnosed in southern Ireland since 2015, on top of the fewer-than-five cases previously found in the northern part of the country (the Irish Post)

Number of the day: 731

The number of pregnant women in the US with lab-confirmed evidence of Zika infection, per CDC

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-12-07-06-pm

Today’s must-reads

  • The hunt is on to find the culprit behind Congress’s Zika funding stalemate (Wired)
  • Indonesia has placed about 1,000 mosquito larvae traps around Jakarta’s main airport as part of its efforts to stunt the spread of Zika (Reuters)

Thursday, Sept. 15

The big news right now

  • A Zika vaccine could inadvertently lead to more cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome (Wall Street Journal)
  • A study of babies born with microcephaly offers a glimpse into the futures of others like them (NPR)
  • People shouldn’t be afraid of the pesticide Naled being used to fight Zika (Huffington Post)
  • Businesses in Zika-affected parts of Miami are hoping a travel advisory will be lifted Monday if no new cases are reported (Insurance Journal)

Number of the day: 2,200

The number of free Zika tests provided to pregnant women in Florida as of Wednesday, Governor Rick Scott tweeted Wednesday morning.

Today’s must-reads

  • The fight over funding for Planned Parenthood that is stalling congressional funding for anti-Zika efforts isn’t just a political battle, but also a health issue (the Hill)
  • A biologist is spreading the word about Zika by rapping (Washington Post)

Wednesday, Sept. 14

The big news right now

  • For the first time Thailand has confirmed its number of Zika cases, saying the figure stands at about 200 since January (Reuters)
  • The states that are most vulnerable to Zika are the ones that will be worst at helping women deal with it (Vox)
  • Florida reported six new cases of locally acquired Zika (Miami Herald)
  • Miami has begun using a new technology that traps female mosquitoes and contaminates them with a larvicide that they carry with them to other breeding sites (NPR)

A case of Zika spread through bodily fluids?

Researchers investigating a mysterious case of Zika infection remain puzzled by the mode of transmission but suggest bodily fluids may be the culprit. The case involves a man in Utah who contracted the disease through no known transmission routes, such as being bitten by an infected mosquito, or through sex with an infected individual. He, however, cared for his father who had contracted Zika. The scientists say that while it remains unclear how the son got the virus, he had “close contact (i.e. kissing and hugging)” with his father while the father’s viral load was unusually high. “Although it is not certain that these types of close contact were the source of transmission, family contacts should be aware that blood and body fluids of severely ill patients might be infectious,” the study says. (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report)

Number of the day: $10 million

The lifelong cost of medical care for each baby born with Zika-related birth defects, a health economist estimated for the CDC. (Naples Daily News)

Protesting pesticides in Miami

A packed house this morning as Miami Beach debates the use of Naled to control mosquitoes.

Today’s must-reads

  • Zika hits Northern Ireland, but all reported cases are from travel (BBC)
  • The southern Florida case count reaches 70, with most infections occurring in the Wynwood area of Miami and Miami Beach. (ABC)

Tuesday, Sept. 13

The big news right now

  • Zika can stunt the development of a monkey fetus’s brain, providing strong evidence that the virus can cause brain defects in human fetuses (STAT)
  • The virus has been found in the vaginal tract of a 32-year-old woman, supporting previous observations of female-to-male sexual transmission (CDC)
  • Florida officials reported eight new cases of locally acquired Zika, raising the statewide total to 64 (Miami Herald)
  • The CDC has deployed a relatively new weapon against Zika: CDC Emergency Response Teams, consisting of not just epidemiologists but also scientists studying the disease in the lab (Kaiser Health News)

Testing woes

So many pregnant women have taken Florida’s offer for free Zika testing that state laboratories are delayed in getting results, causing anxiety among mothers-to-be. State-offered tests have a lag time of multiple weeks while private laboratories are turning around similar test results in three to seven days, doctors told the New York Times. As of Monday, the state’s Health Department said more than 6,649 people had been tested for Zika.

On people’s lips

“The Ministry of Public Health don’t want people to be afraid, so they say they have it under control. The truth is we don’t know the extent of the Zika spread in Thailand.” — Samlee Pliangbangchang, former director of the WHO’s Southeast Asian Region (Reuters)

Today’s must-read


Monday, Sept. 12

The big news right now

  • Miami Beach’s botanical garden removed all its bromeliads, where mosquitoes can breed, and is looking to replace them with mosquito-repellant plants (AP)
  • Zika could boost investor interest and stock prices for biotech companies, a new report concludes (South China Morning Post)
  • Mosquito control officials in St. Augustine, Fla., are planning to expand their capabilities with, among other things, a chicken coop and a wind tunnel to capture and test mosquitoes (the St. Augustine Record)

Maureen Dowd on Zika

When New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd recently had a talk scheduled in Puerto Rico, she began scouring the web for information and called on her dermatologist for advice on everything from what to wear to what insect repellent to use. But after seeing how the residents of Puerto Rico were pushing through the crisis, Dowd has come to one conclusion — Congress needs to act on Zika, now. Read her First Opinion here.

On people’s lips

“When I got sick, I didn’t consider going to a doctor in Puerto Rico. The economic crisis has made medical care unpredictable, and the waits are long. When I sought treatment for allergic reactions earlier in my stay, doctors refused my corporate health insurance and demanded cash.” — Nick Brown, Reuters reporter in San Juan (Reuters)

Today’s must-reads

  • Zika is an STD: Why are we not calling it one? (CNN)
  • Could a Zika vaccine break the vaccine stalemate? (Slate)

Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 10-11

The big news right now

  • Some studies suggest Zika has been lurking in Asian mosquitoes and possibly infecting people silently for decades (NPR)
  • Florida is undercounting its Zika cases by excluding anyone who is not a state resident (Miami Herald)

Zika on the stump

While it hasn’t risen to an issue in the presidential race, Zika is definitely a topic in the race for US Senate in Florida. Republican incumbent Marco Rubio and Democratic challenger Rep. Patrick Murphy have been pointing fingers about each party’s role in the stalled Zika funding and each individual congressman’s votes on the bill. (Orlando Sentinel)

Today’s must-reads

  • How to spot a quack cure for Zika (Better Business Bureau)
  • Vaccines, virulence, and prevention: A STAT reporter talks Zika (STAT)

Friday, Sept. 9

The big news right now

  • HHS awarded the American Academy of Pediatrics $350,000 to provide assistance and education to community health centers and other health care sites dealing with Zika (HHS)
  • Officials in Singapore said that it is unclear if the strain of Zika detected there can cause the same birth defects as the strain in Latin America (Reuters)
  • Jamaica will establish a $50 million fund to help families of babies born with microcephaly (the Star)
  • Brazil’s attorney general has spoken out in favor of a lawsuit that would allow abortions for pregnant women infected with Zika (Wall Street Journal)

Number of the day: $72,000

That’s the amount Miami Beach has fined residents so far for allowing standing water on their property. (NBC Miami)

Making unprofitable vaccines

GlaxoSmithKline is mulling creating a unit to develop vaccines for diseases such as Zika that offer little profit potential. According to Bloomberg, the drug maker would provide a facility, staff, and technology, and would look for funding from the United States, the United Kingdom, the World Health Organization, and other public entities. A GSK official said the firm is in “advanced discussions … and we really feel that there needs to be a radical rethinking of vaccine development for this kind of target that has no commercial incentive but has epidemic potential.” GSK is also working toward a vaccine for Zika, and human testing is expected to begin next year at the earliest.

See Zika unfold

A map based on news reports illustrates the global spread of the virus.

Today’s must-read

  • Why the low Zika numbers in Haiti might be wrong (NPR)

Wednesday, Sept. 7

The big news right now

  • People who have traveled to Zika outbreak areas should wait six months, rather than the previous guidance of eight weeks, before conceiving, the WHO now says (STAT)
  • Zika genes have been detected in mice tears, raising the possibility of another route of transmission for the virus (Washington Post)
  • Miami officials are expanding their aerial insecticide spraying to include Miami Beach after mosquito counts rebounded over Labor Day weekend (Miami Herald)
  • Biotech Moderna Therapeutics plans to develop a Zika vaccine (Boston Business Journal)

Mixed mosquito findings

Brazilian researchers at Fiocruz institute have found that the common Culex mosquito is not transmitting Zika in Rio de Janeiro. That’s good news, since those mosquitoes outnumber Aedes aegypti 20 times over. But it also leaves scientists scratching their heads, since their previous work indicated Culex mosquitoes in Recife could harbor the virus. One possibility, that might also help explain why Recife was so much harder hit: Culex mosquitoes in Recife may be genetically different from those in Rio, the institute said. (Washington Post)

Congress returns to work

Congress came back from summer recess yesterday and, as expected, a Senate vote last night failed to advance $1.1 billion in funding for a Zika response. A poll commissioned by the March of Dimes finds that 75 percent of Americans support increasing funding to fight Zika. But apathy about the severity of Zika continues to pervade Congress, even as nearly 3,000 cases of Zika have been diagnosed in the continental US.

Today’s must-read

  • Zika concerns could test Singapore’s efforts to boost birth rate (Reuters)

Tuesday, Sept. 6

The big news right now

  • Singapore’s case count has risen to 275 (Channel News Asia)
  • Neighboring Malaysia has reported its first locally acquired case and the man very soon after died, reportedly from heart disease complications (Channel News Asia)
  • Meanwhile the Philippines confirmed its first case of the Zika virus in the current outbreak, which was “highly likely” to have been contracted locally (Reuters)
  • After mosquitoes in Miami Beach tested positive for Zika, the city is starting larvicide spraying from trucks (CBS)

Abortion in Malaysia

Malaysia’s regional legal experts, called muftis, are being looked to for guidance on abortion as the virus enters the country. Though one regional mufti has said that abortion may be legal in the case of Zika birth defects, others have yet to weigh in. The overall national law currently only allows abortion if the mother’s life is at risk. The country’s health minister has urged the National Fatwa Council to discuss the matter and issue nationwide guidance. (The Star)

Today’s must-read


Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 3-4

The big news right now

  • Hurricane Hermine hit Florida, raising additional worries that the Zika virus could spread as pools of water left behind provide fertile breeding grounds for mosquitoes (Reuters)
  • Florida announced six new cases of local infection in Miami Beach (Miami Herald)
  • 2.6 billion people in Africa and the Asia-Pacific region could be vulnerable to the Zika virus (Lancet)
  • Singapore’s wet climate and dense population means it could spend the next few years controlling the virus without eradicating it (Reuters)

‘The cockroach of mosquitoes’

Its resilience has earned Aedes aegypti, the mosquito species at the center of the Zika crisis, a reputation as “the cockroach of mosquitoes.” In addition to being able to breed in just a bottle cap’s worth of water, their eggs can survive for a year in unfavorable conditions. The females also lay their eggs in batches in multiple spots in order to ensure the survival of their spawn. (Consumer Reports)

Today’s must-reads

  • Scientists are working on different strategies to destroy mosquitoes, but eradication of the bugs may not be a smart move (Wall Street Journal)
  • Zika remains a global health emergency as the virus continues to spread, and gaps in knowledge about the virus persist (Washington Post)
  • Zika is widespread in Africa, and while we haven’t heard much about it, the virus may be as deadly there as it has been in South America (Slate)

Friday, Sept. 2

The big news right now

  • Mosquitoes infected with Zika have been found for the first time in the continental US, in Miami Beach (STAT)
  • Malaysia reported its first case of Zika, a woman who traveled to Singapore (AP)
  • Takeda has joined the race to develop a Zika vaccine (STAT)
  • Hurricane Hermine could could hamper Florida’s efforts against Zika (Reuters)
  • Researchers sequenced a strain of the Zika virus, which will be used as a reference strain by the WHO in order to diagnose the virus more easily (Genome Announcements)

On people’s lips

“Cuba’s response has been strong and effective … It has to do with the capacity to organize the population. Applying it to other countries, other contexts, would be extremely difficult.” Dr. Cristian Morales, World Health Organization representative in Cuba (Washington Post)

A pocket-sized warning device

In the wake of Hurricane Hermine, the New York Times has a good reminder about how to set up emergency alerts on your phone, including ones for severe weather, Zika virus, and natural disasters — a solid way to welcome in National Preparedness Month.

Today in odd headlines: Rubber boom

Malaysian companies making rubber gloves and condoms predict that the first reported Zika case in the country will drive some accelerated demand for their products — which they say they’re ready to meet. (Free Malaysia Today)


Thursday, Sept. 1

The big news right now

  • With Zika now firmly in Singapore, which has confirmed 115 cases, health officials are worried about potential spread to the rest of Asia and Africa (STAT)
  • An increase in cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome in Latin America may mean the Zika virus is spreading (STAT)
  • A third case of nontravel-related Zia infection was reported in Palm Beach County (Palm Beach Post)
  • Millions of honeybees have been killed in South Carolina after officials failed to notify beekeepers about insecticide spraying (AP)
  • The Miami travel advisory may be lifted by mid-September, local businesses have been told, if no new Zika cases are found (NPR)

Number of the day: 92 percent

The share of Americans who have heard or read about the Zika virus. (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Today’s must-reads

      • Medical specialists needed to care for Zika babies are in short supply (USA Today)
      • Doctors fear Zika is a sleeping giant in Haiti (NPR)

Wednesday, Aug. 31

The big news right now

      • We’re nearly out of money to fight Zika, CDC says (NYT)
      • As many as 6 percent of children born with Zika-related microcephaly could have hearing loss (STAT)
      • Florida is investigating three more cases of locally transmitted Zika, including two that may have occurred outside of the foci of the virus’s outbreak in Miami-Dade County (Reuters)

Singapore update

As the number of confirmed Zika cases in Singapore rose to 82, the CDC issued an interim travel guidance for the country, which reported its first case of the virus only over the weekend. Additionally, the United Kingdom, Australia, Taiwan, and South Korea have issued travel advisories for Singapore.

HHS Secretary: Yes, put on the bug repellant, anyway

During a Twitter town hall on Tuesday, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell responded to various questions posed by participants about Zika, including one about the need to use insect repellant even in areas where no local transmission of Zika has been reported. Her response: Yes. Noting she has a 6- and and 8-year-old, Burwell said “We actually do wear it, even though there’s not local transmission here in the District of Columbia.”

Today’s must-reads

      • The countries where Zika is most prevalent and where the virus so far has been barely seen (CNN)
      • Theranos halts its Zika test amid after FDA found safety problems in testing (WSJ)
      • The CDC issued an interim travel guidance for the British Virgin Islands (CDC)

Tuesday, Aug. 30

The big news right now

      • Three existing drugs — for cancer, hepatitis C, and parasitic infections — appear promising against the Zika virus (Washington Post)
      • Female mosquitoes infected with Zika can pass it down to their offspring, which means the virus may be able to persist through the  winter (STAT)
      • Right on the heels of dosing its first US volunteers with an experimental Zika vaccine, Inovio Pharmaceuticals has launched a second clinical trial of the drug, this time in Puerto Rico (press release)
      • Singapore confirmed 15 additional cases of local Zika, bringing the total number to 56 (CBC News)

Zika chat

Got questions about Zika? HHS is at the ready to answer them. The agency is holding a Twitter town hall today starting at 10 a.m. for experts to answer people’s questions about the virus. Questions can be submitted on Twitter using #AtoZika. (HHS)

Quiz time

Today’s must-reads

      • Floridians are not happy with how state officials have handled the Zika outbreak, and roughly half expressed concern about getting infected with the virus (Orlando Sentinel)
      • Echoes of New York City’s polio epidemic a century ago can be seen in the current Zika outbreak and the response to it (New York Times)
      • A primer on Zika and pregnancy (Wall Street Journal)

Monday, Aug. 29

The big news right now

      • Singapore has confirmed 41 cases of locally transmitted Zika virus (Reuters)
      • Roche’s quick Zika test has become the 10th FDA emergency-authorized Zika diagnostic (Reuters, FDA)

Virus mum

Walt Disney World, Sea World, and Universal Orlando are all offering free bug spray to guests, and have put up signs telling visitors to be aware of mosquito bite risk. But the signs and flyers all avoid referencing Zika by name. (Gizmodo)

Today’s must-reads

      • Inaction on Zika is a public health crisis (Salon)
      • The Zika undercount and the virus’s growing threat to public health (Wall Street Journal)

Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 27-28

The big news right now

      • The FDA recommends all donated blood in the US be screened for the Zika virus (STAT)
      • Health officials reported the first case in the US of an asymptomatic man transmitting Zika to a sexual partner (CBS News)
      • A poll finds that most Floridians favor using genetically modified mosquitoes to fight Zika (STAT)
      • The Dominican Republic reported its first three cases of babies born with Zika-related microcephaly (AP)
      • Nicaragua confirmed its first case of a baby born with microcephaly stemming from Zika infection (Reuters)
      • Singapore hit by first case of locally transmitted Zika (The Straits Times)

On people’s lips

“It’s an extraordinary misuse of very limited resources. … With Zika in Washington and Oregon, we know there is no possibility of local transmission. Those mosquitoes don’t live here.” — Dr. James AuBuchon, president and chief executive of Bloodworks Northwest, on the FDA’s recommendation that all US blood centers screen donated blood for the Zika virus. (Seattle Times)

Today’s must-reads

      • With Florida’s hurricane season still in its infancy, controlling the Zika outbreak could prove even more vexing (USA Today)
      • As worries about Zika rose during the summer, a woman, pregnant with her third child, wrote President Obama about her concerns with the Zika virus. And he responded. (White House)
      • A guide to help pregnant women reduce their Zika risk (New York Times)

Friday, Aug. 26

The big news right now

      • Hong Kong has reported its first case of travel-acquired Zika (South China Morning Post)
      • Women in Puerto Rico now can get “a full range of contraceptive options” for free from their doctor (CDC Foundation)
      • A new study indicates Zika can continue to reproduce in the vaginas of mice days after they were infected, suggesting the virus may replicate more easily in the female reproductive tract than at other infection sites (Cell)
      • Labs in the US are expanding their testing capacities as the number of Zika cases increases (Wall Street Journal)

Number of the day: 584

The number of pregnant women in the US diagnosed with the Zika virus as of Aug. 18. There were 16 liveborn infants with Zika-related birth defects, and five pregnancy losses with birth defects as of the same date. (CDC)

On people’s lips

“More than one-third of Florida does not have an OB-GYN. … It also is among the worst states in the country for women’s health and women’s well-being. And it has staggering infection rates for sexually transmitted diseases. And now we have Zika.” — Lillian Tamayo, CEO of Planned Parenthood of South, East, and North Florida (NPR)

Blood surveillance

You can see for yourself where blood banks report a positive Zika infection in donated blood, courtesy of a new mapping project by nonprofit AABB. But presently most blood banks aren’t testing for Zika, and are instead relying on screening questions to keep the disease out of the blood supply. (AABB)


Thursday, Aug. 25

The big news right now

      • The Zika virus may linger in an infant’s blood even after birth, raising questions about how long it could continue damaging a baby’s brain (STAT)
      • Florida health officials reported Palm Beach County’s second case of locally transmitted Zika (Miami Herald)
      • China has added the US to a list of Zika-infected countries, which has American exporters worried that they might have to fumigate all containers destined for Chinese ports (Wall Street Journal)
      • Johns Hopkins opened what it says is the world’s “first known multidisciplinary Zika virus center” that will treat patients infected with the virus (Johns Hopkins)

Number of the day: 200

The number of calls that Pinellas County Mosquito Control received on Tuesday after Florida officials confirmed the first case of non-travel-related Zika in the county. Normally, the county receives between 300 and 400 calls about mosquitoes a month. (ABC News)

Today’s must-read

      • For mom of baby born with Zika complications, waiting and uncertainty (Miami Herald)

Wednesday, Aug. 24

The big news right now

      • Florida has confirmed the first case of locally transmitted Zika in Pinellas County, on the other side of the state from Miami (WPTV)
      • The CDC has added the Bahamas to its Zika travel advisory (CDC)
      • Fearful of the effects of Zika on their fetuses, pregnant women are fleeing Miami (STAT)
      • Medical diagnostics company OraSure has received up to $16.6 million in federal funding to develop a rapid oral test for Zika (The Morning Call)
      • Hillary Clinton has proposed a new federal fund to combat Zika (AP)

Number of the day: 395

The projected number of cases of locally transmitted Zika that Florida will have in total, according to new projections, the most of any state. The state currently has 42 such cases. (Miami Herald)

Zika’s toll

A new study of brain scans of 45 Brazilian babies suggests a worrying possibility, according to the New York Times: “Because some of the damage was seen in brain areas that continue to develop after birth, it may be that babies born without obvious impairment will experience problems as they grow.” (New York Times)


Thursday, Aug. 18

The big news right now

      • A Taiwanese woman contracted Zika in Miami (Taiwan CDC)
      • Two Florida billboards showing an unrolled condom to urge protection against Zika have been removed because the tourism board worried they were inaccurate (WSVN)
      • Guatemala has confirmed its first case of Zika-linked microcephaly (Reuters)

Lingo to know

Hofbauer cells: A type of immune cell, found in the placenta, which has been recently discovered to play an important role in Zika transmission to a fetus. The cells appear to physically harbor the virus, according to a new study. (The Atlantic)

On people’s lips

“My gynecologist told me being pregnant with twins, there are more dangers than Zika.” — Puerto Rico resident Tahiri Velez Rosario (USA Today)

Today’s must-read


Wednesday, Aug. 17

The big news right now

      • Poland has confirmed its first two cases of Zika infection (Radio Poland)
      • New York City officials said that 49 pregnant women have tested positive for Zika since April, and one baby was born with microcephaly (WABC)

Zika refugee

Pregnant Miami resident Christina Frigo is a refugee from her city because of Zika. Now living in the suburbs of Chicago, Frigo says some of her pregnant friends are scared and feeling trapped in Miami, but that she’s met problems elsewhere too — for instance, doctors who have cancelled her appointments after learning she was previously living in a Zika-affected area. (The New Tropic)

Today’s must-reads

      • If you drink beer, sweat a lot, or have type O blood, mosquitoes may find you especially desirable (CBS)
      • Mosquito guns and heavy fines: how Cuba kept Zika at bay for so long (Nature News)

Tuesday, Aug. 16

The big news right now

      • The first case of travel-related Zika within the US has been reported — in a Texas resident who contracted the virus in Miami (USA Today)
      • Two more cases of locally acquired Zika have been reported in Miami-Dade County, bringing the state’s total to 30 (CBS)
      • Pregnant women on Medicaid in Texas can drop by any pharmacy to get two free cans of mosquito repellant per month (CBS)
      • Canada is developing a national surveillance program to track pregnant women who test positive for Zika (Ottawa Citizen)

Spray update

After 10 days of insecticide spraying in Miami, officials report mixed results. The Wynwood area, which received two types of spraying — one to kill larvae and another to kill adults — has seen a drop in the population of Aedes aegypti. But the surrounding area, which just received chemicals to kill adults, has actually seen a rise in mosquito numbers. (Miami Herald)

Number of the day: $4 million

That’s the lifetime cost of raising a child with congenital Zika infection. (Wired)

Today’s must-reads

      • Could a special government reserve fund help in dealing with emergencies such as the Zika crisis in the future? (STAT)
      • Close to the outbreak, a quiet Brazilian village is spared from Zika (Washington Post)

Monday, Aug. 15

The big news right now

      • The flooding that struck Louisiana over the weekend may increase Zika risk in its wake (USA Today)
      • Pesticide spraying in Miami has been met with some protests (Local 10)
      • Singer Demi Lovato posted a Snapchat video of her mom joking about Zika, which drew immediate criticism (Huffington Post)

Zika scare

The first Olympic athlete to possibly have been infected by Zika is Indian wrestler Babita Kumari. Kumari came down with a fever and body aches; Zika was suspected but never confirmed. She’s back to good health, according to media reports. (First Post)

Today in odd headlines: Bite me

At the Russian Mosquito Festival in Berezniki, there’s an award for getting the most mosquito bites — which this year went to a 9-year-old girl with 43 bites from berry-picking in the forest with her mother. Mosquitoes there, luckily, don’t appear to carry the Zika virus. (AP)

Today’s must-reads

      • The race for a Zika vaccine (New Yorker)
      • Brazil defeated the mosquito that spreads Zika once before — few expect it to do so again (LA Times)

Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 13-14

The big news right now

      • HHS declared a public health emergency in Puerto Rico as the island reported 10,690 cases of Zika, including 1,035 involving pregnant women (STAT)
      • Three new cases of local mosquito-acquired Zika have been reported in Florida, bringing the total number to 28 (NBC News)
      • A southeastern Michigan county has its first confirmed Zika case (Associated Press)

Trump on Zika funding

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Congress should approve funding to fight the Zika virus. In comments to the Miami Herald covering a variety of topics, Trump said he would “let some of the funds that they’re asking for come in. … They’re fighting for it, and hopefully that’s going to be approved very soon.” He also praised Florida Governor Rick Scott’s handling of the current outbreak in Miami: “And I think it’ll be fine.”

Number of the day: 25 percent

The percentage of Puerto Rico residents who could be infected with the Zika virus by the end of the year. (STAT)

Today’s must-read

      • In New York City’s fight against Zika, the focus is shifting away from mosquitoes to sex (New York Times)

Friday, Aug. 12

The big news right now

      • The Zika virus may remain in men’s semen twice as long as previously reported — up to six months and maybe longer (STAT)
      • With funds running out, the Obama administration has been forced to shift money around to fight Zika (STAT)
      • The CDC added Cayman Islands to its Zika travel risk list (CDC)
      • Three new cases of local mosquito-acquired Zika in Miami have been identified, bringing the statewide total to 25 (Sun Sentinel)
      • Canada has reported its first case of Zika-linked microcephaly (Ottawa Citizen)

Brazil’s Zika babies grow up

The immense cost of raising Brazil’s babies with congenital Zika syndrome is straining poor families and the government that supports them. The epidemic is overwhelming hospitals and clinics, which struggle to find enough doctors, therapists — and even basic supplies, such as infant feeding tubes — to meet the need.

STAT’s Melissa Bailey went to Recife, the epicenter of the crisis, to meet the family of one of the country’s first diagnosed infants with the syndrome, baby Duda, who is now 8 months old. Read the full story here.

For this senator, it’s personal

US Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) has called for Congress to end its vacation early to pass Zika funding. And he has a personal investment in this case: His daughter, who lives in Miami, is five months pregnant with her first child and his first grandchild, he said at a recent press conference. “It seems to me that we are not doing enough to protect women like my daughter, before they get pregnant, during, and after.” (YouTube)

Today’s must-read

      • Beyond Zika: How Congress is flirting with medical disaster (The New Republic)

Thursday, Aug. 11

The big news right now

      • The Bahamas reported its first confirmed case of Zika (AP)
      • An additional case of local mosquito-acquired Zika infection has been reported in Miami-Dade County, bringing the total number in Florida to 22 (Miami Herald)
      • Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is in Puerto Rico today talking with doctors and residents about Zika (Twitter)

A drought, water politics, and Brazil’s Zika crisis

A prolonged drought and long-standing issues with its water infrastructure underlie Recife, Brazil’s Zika problem and why the area became a hotbed for the virus. In some neighborhoods, for example, the state utility agency runs water only a few times a week, and residents are left to store water in whatever containers they have, providing breeding grounds for mosquitoes. (Frontline)

Range at risk

Scientists have created a new model of where local Zika transmission might occur, taking into account both climate and socioeconomic factors. Blue areas are those considered most at risk in both dimensions.

Today’s must-read

      • I got Zika. The US health care system had no idea what to do with me (Vox)

Wednesday, Aug. 10

The big news right now

      • Texas reported its first Zika-related death, of a baby born with microcephaly and other birth defects (STAT)
      • Florida has reported four additional cases of Zika likely acquired through local mosquito bites, bringing the total to 21 (Governor’s office)
      • In her visit to a Miami health clinic, Hillary Clinton called on Congress to reconvene to pass Zika funding (STAT)
      • USAID has awarded $15 million in grants to 21 pilot projects to combat Zika (USAID)
      • Businesses in the epicenter of Miami’s Zika outbreak are suffering and asking for help, including the creation of an emergency fund (Miami Herald)

Candidate divide

Today’s must-read


Tuesday, Aug. 9

The big news right now

      • Cayman Islands, in the Caribbean, has reported its first locally transmitted Zika infection (Reuters)
      • In addition to neurological effects, Zika can cause joint problems in babies when infected in utero, a new study finds (USA Today)
      • Florida officials are investigating Palm Beach County’s first reported case of non-travel-related Zika, bringing the statewide total to 17 people (Palm Beach Post)

What’s ahead

Hillary Clinton will take a detour from talking about job creation in Florida to discuss Zika today. Later today she will tour the Borinquen Medical Center, which is near the Wynwood neighborhood in Miami where most of the local transmission of the virus has occurred to date. She’s expected to call on Congress to reconvene to approve Zika response funding. (Washington Times)

Number of the day: 65%

The share of Americans who say they are “not too” or “not at all” worried about being infected with Zika or an immediate family member becoming infected, according to a new poll. (Washington Post/ABC News)

Today’s must-read

      • While small biotechs and government researchers are racing to develop a Zika vaccine, the world’s top-tier drug companies are largely watching from the sidelines (STAT)

Monday, Aug. 8

The big news right now

      • Aerial mosquito spraying began this weekend in Miami, focusing on the Wynwood neighborhood (NBC)
      • “Zika” appears to be the crowd’s favored taunt of American athletes in Rio (USA Today)
      • Puerto Rico’s doctors are offering free birth control to all women on the island (NPR)
      • Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who has been in favor of Zika legislation, said on Saturday that pregnant women infected with the virus shouldn’t be able to have abortions (Politico)

Viral shrine

Today’s must-read

      • She went to Miami to report about the Zika virus, but she may have ended up contracting it as well (Reveal)

Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 6-7

The big news right now

      • Florida took a step closer to releasing genetically modified mosquitoes as a way to combat Zika (STAT)
      • The FTC has sent 10 warning letters to marketers for making questionable claims about purported anti-Zika products (FTC)
      • Florida identified a new non-travel-related case of Zika infection in the epicenter of the current outbreak (Florida Health Department)

On people’s lips

“We’ve gone from getting zero Zika specimens to getting hundreds a day.” — Dr. Jennifer Rakeman, New York City’s chief Zika hunter. (Wall Street Journal)

Today’s must-reads

      • Now that local transmission of the Zika virus has hit the US, Congress needs to stop playing politics and provide funding (STAT)
      • Why developing a Zika vaccine will probably be a slow slog (Quartz)
      • In Recife, Brazil, medical professionals and women’s health advocates rally around children born with Zika-related microcephaly, and their mothers (Huffington Post)
      • Puerto Rico is getting hammered by Zika, but its residents don’t seem too concerned (CNN)

Friday, Aug. 5

The big news right now

      • A STAT-Harvard poll found most Americans favor allowing late-term abortions in cases where a pregnant mother is infected with Zika (STAT)
      • President Obama urges Congress to pass Zika funding (STAT)
      • Three separate Zika vaccines have shown efficacy in monkeys (NBC)
      • With the Olympics here, there are plenty of bikinis but nary a mosquito in Rio (STAT)

I dare you to wear this

Japanese firm Bibilab has designed a Zika suit that is essentially a head-to-toe net to keep wearers from getting bitten by mosquitoes. The outfit makes the wearer look as if he or she is surrounded by a force field. Bibilab says that while it offers protection, it will not offer 100 percent protection. (Daily Mail)

On people’s lips

“We have bigger mosquitoes to squash than Zika — like ISIS, the national debt, Iraq, and Afghanistan. We have a wall to build to keep the illegals out. We have so many other issues that are more important than this.” — Juan Fiol, vice chairman for Miami-Dade County for Donald Trump’s campaign. (Daily Kos)

Today’s must-reads

      • Pregnant women in the epicenter of Florida’s Zika outbreak are unable to avoid the area, putting them on edge (AP)
      • The virus has caused those wanting to get pregnant to delay or otherwise change their plans (CNN)

Thursday, Aug. 4

The big news right now

      • The New York attorney general is cracking down on seven marketers for alleged deceptive marketing of Zika-related insect repellants (STAT)
      • The CDC issued travel notices for Antigua and Barbuda, and Turks and Caicos Islands (CDC)
      • Despite stringent mosquito controls, Cuba has seen its first two cases of locally contracted Zika (Reuters)
      • 33 US military personnel are believed to have contracted Zika, including one pregnant woman (Reuters)
      • Asked how he would combat Zika virus, Donald Trump said Florida governor Rick Scott is doing a “fantastic job” and “seems to have it under control” (CNN)

The latest from Florida

      • Pregnant women will get free testing for Zika at county health departments (Governor’s office)
      • FDA approval for the release of genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys is expected “any minute now,” Oxitec says (Reuters)
      • CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden says the travel advisory for Florida could last up to a year (Washington Post)

Cher on Zika

Not for the first time, Cher weighed in on Zika with emojis and caps lock. This time, she went political. (Twitter)

Today’s must-reads

      • Researchers are trying to decipher why Brazil is so susceptible to birth defects resulting from Zika (CNN)
      • Some airlines have changed their refund policies following a Zika-related travel advisory from the CDC (The Hill)
      • As many as about 40,000 people in the US could have the Zika infection from having traveled abroad (New Scientist)

Wednesday, Aug. 3

The big news right now

      • The NIH has dosed its first human volunteer with an experimental Zika vaccine, just a week after Inovio met the same milestone (MIT Technology Review)
      • Relatively few women and girls in states that could see Zika outbreaks use effective birth control methods (STAT)
      • The CDC is devoting $16 million to a surveillance system to track microcephaly cases across much of the US (CDC)
      • New York plans to drop larvicide into water pooled along New York City’s subway tracks as a preventive strategy against Zika (New York Post)

The latest from Florida

Florida health officials are investigating an additional case of non-travel-related Zika infection in Miami-Dade County, which may suggest the outbreak is spreading beyond the Wynwood area.

Miami plans to begin aerial mosquito spraying in Wynwood, but that was delayed due to inclement weather today.

But the city is testing whether mosquitoes there have become resistant to common insecticides.

And outdoor activities in the Wynwood neighborhood, including the unfortunately named class “The Naked Bite,” are being moved or cancelled entirely.

Meanwhile in Rio

Zika got the cover treatment by the New Yorker this week. (Twitter)

Today’s must-reads

      • A Zika vaccine may be farther away than we want to believe (Wall Street Journal)
      • Chelsea Clinton’s pregnancy and concern about Zika helped shaped Hillary Clinton’s policies on the virus (Politico)

Tuesday, Aug. 2

The big news right now

  • The CDC is advising pregnant women to avoid Miami-Dade County in Florida, where local mosquitoes are believed to be transmitting the Zika virus (STAT)
  • US Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut wants congressional Republicans to call for an emergency session to provide more funding for the Zika virus (CBS Connecticut)
  • Theranos has submitted its Zika blood test, running on its newly unveiled testing platform, for FDA evaluation (STAT)
  • The Hong Kong government is offering its residents attending the Rio Olympics Zika testing upon their return as part of a clinical study (RTHK)

Utah update

After a mysterious case of Zika was found in Utah that may have been transmitted from a father to a son, health officials went door to door to solicit blood tests from nearly 100 neighbors, according to the Deseret News. All results have been negative so far, though, and CDC staffers that were deployed to help have now left Utah. Officials say their findings should be announced by early September.

Today’s must-reads

  • Three reasons Puerto Rico is getting hammered by Zika (Time)
  • What cities can learn from Key West’s Zika controversy (CityLab)

Monday, Aug. 1

The big news right now

  • The UK government advises pregnant women to delay travel to Florida (Guardian)
  • Two golfers who skipped the Olympics because of Zika now face the virus in their home state of Florida (Telegraph)
  • Reggae star Beenie Man says he was denied a visa to Canada, where he was due to perform, because of Zika infection (Rolling Stone)

On people’s lips

“I saw 30 pregnant women today, so I had 30 conversations about Zika.” — Dr. Christine Curry, obstetrician-gynecologist in Miami, in the wake of the first locally transmitted cases of Zika there (STAT)

Playing it safe

ESPN business reporter Darren Rovell tweeted this photo over the weekend of one athlete’s mosquito protection.

Today’s must-read


 

For more Zika in 30 Seconds archives click here.

 

— Curated by Lisa Raffensperger and Elana Zak

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Crystals illuminated. Cells magnified. Every year, Nikon holds a contest for images at the smallest scale. Here are some of the life sciences photomicrographs that we like best.

Kayana Szymczak for STAT Dr. Kelly Holland, family medicine doctor and former tuberculosis patient at the…
Courtesy Kelly Holland A CT scan of Dr. Kelly Holland's chest shows a hole a…
Courtesy Kelly Holland Holland treats a patient in Kenya for tuberculosis pericarditis, an infection of…

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Dr. Kelly Holland's bout with tuberculosis was a public health nightmare for his town. It also turned him into an activist, fighting for more TB funding.

Justin Merriman for STAT Rhonda Pasek (right), who was captured in a viral photo of her…
via Facebook East Liverpool Police posted this image of overdosed adults and a child…
Justin Merriman for STAT East Liverpool police officer Fred Flati, a 24-year veteran of the department,…

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East Liverpool officials said they published a photo of a couple overdosing as a cry for help and to save the life of the boy who was with them.