WASHINGTON TIMES — The Obama administration says it doesn’t expect the Zika virus to blanket whole states if and when mosquitoes begin to spread the virus on the U.S. mainland, though it wants state officials to map outbreaks so locals can protect themselves.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded nearly 700 travel-related cases in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, including nearly a dozen through sexual transmission. Yet the agency expects Zika to circulate on its own this summer, when Aedes mosquitoes flourish and start biting.
In a conference call, CDC officials said transmission in the continental U.S. should be “geographically limited” to relatively small areas, compared with Latin America and the Caribbean.
The CDC has recorded more than 1,300 locally acquired cases in the U.S. territories, mainly in Puerto Rico, and an outbreak in Brazil has been linked to an uptick in the rate of babies born with abnormally small heads, a condition known as microcephaly.
Local transmission will most likely hit Texas, Florida and other states along the Gulf of Mexico, based on previous outbreaks of dengue and chikungunya, which are ferried by the same type of mosquito as Zika.