14 Zika Cases Reported in the USA During 2019

International travelers continue returning to the USA infected with the Zika virus

pregnant women ocean in the background

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have not been any Zika virus cases reported in the USA or its Territories during 2019. 

Normally, this would be good news, since there is not a preventive vaccine or treatment available for a Zika virus infection or its associated diseases. 

But, state-based Zika reporting in the USA tells a different story. 

As of March 18, 2019, the states of California and Florida have confirmed 14 Zika cases during 2019. 

The good news about this information is these Zika cases are related to international travelers returning to the USA, and not locally-acquired. 

In Californa, the Department of Public Health Division of Communicable Diseases has reported 5 travel-related Zika cases as of March 1, 2019. This data compares with 68 travel cases reported during 2018. 

And in Florida, the Department of Health has reported 9 travel-related Zika cases, as of March 17, 2019. This compares with 107 travel cases, of which 79 were pregnant women. And, 1 baby was born with Congenital Zika Syndrome during 2018. 

But, there is some good news from the state of Texas.

As of March 16, 2019, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has received 0 reports of Zika virus disease in Texas for 2019. During 2019, Texas DSHS had reported a total of 3 Zika cases for all of 2018, which were all acquired outside the United States. 

The difference between the CDC’s year-to-date reporting and these state-based reports may be related to timing.  The CDC obtains its Zika data from ArboNET, which has not updated its website during 2019.   

Around the world, Zika cases may have been under-reported. 

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According to a study published on February 13, 2019, the incidence of Zika virus disease in Mexico was higher than previously assumed. 

This new study estimated that the number of symptomatic cases of Zika infection in the general Mexican population was 7.3 times greater than the number of reported cases. 

To notify Americans of their Zika risk prior to departure overseas, the CDC issues various Travel Alerts.  

As an example, the CDC issued a Level 2 Travel Alert of February 27, 2019, regarding an unusual increase in the number of Zika cases reported in Rajasthan and surrounding India states. 

Most importantly, the CDC says pregnant women should NOT travel to these areas in India. 

Separately, the Public Health Agency of Canada has issued advice for travelers on the Zika virus, recommending that Canadians practice special health precautions while traveling in affected countries.   

And, Public Health England does not provide detailed travel health advice in relation to Zika virus. But, the country information pages on the National Travel Health Network and Centre website contains advice for those traveling to countries or areas affected by Zika virus.

Recent Zika news:

Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. And, Zika can also be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her sex partners, even if the person doesn’t have symptoms. 

Moreover, Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus, which can cause certain birth defects, says the CDC.