Illinois Department of Health Director Gives Zika Virus Warning - NBC Chicago

Illinois Department of Health Director Gives Zika Virus Warning

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    Illinois Department of Health Director Gives Zika Virus Warning

    As Zika cases continue to rise in a specific section of Miami, officials here in Illinois have a warning for certain residents, NBC 5's Christian Farr reports. (Published Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016)

    As Zika cases continue to rise in a specific section of Miami, officials here in Illinois have a warning for certain residents.

    “Should Illinoisans travel to that region in Florida they might put themselves at risk,” said Illinois Department of Health Director Nirav D. Shah.

    Shah said his office is echoing a warning by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying pregnant women should avoid visiting the Wynwood District of Miami. Officials there say at least 15 non-travel related Zika infections have been discovered in and around that area.

    Shah said Zika spreading outside Florida is a concern.

    “The area of concern is about a one square mile area around Miami neighborhood called Wynwood, but that is always something that could go up,” Shah said. “There are a lot of people in the area that are concerned about Zika virus and the potential for local mosquitoes to transmit it.”

    North Shore Mosquito Abatement District Director Roger Nasci said his office has received lots of calls and emails about the possibility of Zika in Illinois, but he says the risk in Illinois is low.

    “Here in the North Shore, we don’t have the right mosquito to transmit Zika virus, but our main concern continues to be West Nile in this area,” Nasci said.

    While the agency does have a plan to combat Zika, Nasci says his crews primarily focus on preventing the spread of West Niles, which could help with the prevention of Zika, as long as the community does its part and gets rid of standing water around homes.

    “You can grow large numbers of mosquitoes in a very short period of time in just a few containers in your backyard,” Nasci said.

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