Do we still need to worry about Zika in Florida?

Unfortunately, the short answer is: yes, we still need to worry about Zika in Florida.

On June 2, 2017, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) removed the Zika cautionary area for Miami-Dade County. As of July 6, 2017, there are currently no active areas of Zika transmission in Florida. Even though the state no longer has any areas flagged by the CDC for Zika, we still need to remain vigilant for some time. The CDC recommends that all men and women frequently check their site for status changes in the states that they either live in or travel to, paying close attention to previously affected Zika cautionary areas. The CDC also stresses that the actual risk of transmission in those areas is still unknown but is likely low with sporadic cases still possible.

The Zika virus is known to remain present in semen for months, so men who were in Miami-Dade County prior to June 2, 2017 can still potentially transmit the virus to their partner for up to 6 months.  Therefore, the CDC recommends that those men continue to use condoms during sex and not attempt conception during the time which they are at risk, in order to reduce transmission of the Zika virus. Also, women who were in Miami-Dade County before June 2, 2017 should wait at least 8 weeks from that date before trying to conceive and should also use condoms during the time they are at risk.

Unfortunately, the Zika virus and its adverse effects on pregnancy are still relevant for at least the foreseeable future. As with most conditions in medicine, prevention is best. Therefore, continuing to take steps to avoid mosquito bites and preventing Zika transmission during sex are important to help contain this disease. It’s also imperative to know if an area you are planning to travel to was marked by the CDC as an area with Zika both for international travel and also for domestic US travel.

George Patounakis, MD, Phd, FACOG

Medical Director, Reproductive Medicine Associates of Florida

View more blogs by Dr. Patounakis or visit him at RMA-FL.