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Florida mosquitoes likely spreading Zika

Aedes aegypti

BAD BITE  Health officials suspect Aedes mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti shown) in Florida have infected four people with the Zika virus.

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Mosquitoes in Miami now appear to be transmitting Zika virus.

Four cases of Zika infection in Florida were probably acquired via the bite of local mosquitoes, the state’s health department announced July 29. These are the first cases of local transmission of the virus in the continental United States.

“Zika is now here,” Tom Frieden, director of U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a news briefing July 29.

No mosquitoes trapped yet have tested positive for the virus, but officials suspect Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in a several-block area in north Miami are to blame. “Everything we’ve seen so far indicates that this is mosquito-borne transmission,” Frieden said.

Florida’s small cluster of cases does not necessarily foreshadow an epidemic, he said. The four infected people probably were bitten in early July. Since then, Florida has stepped up efforts to stamp out mosquitoes — including going door-to-door to get rid of standing water and spraying insecticides by truck and by people on foot.

“We believe that widespread transmission in the continental U.S. is unlikely,” Frieden said. “But it’s not impossible.”

Two other mosquito-borne diseases, dengue and chikungunya, have spread locally in Florida in the past. But, Frieden said, those diseases generally dead-end after infecting just one person. 

Health,, Microbiology

This week in Zika: Revised risk, new mosquito threat, U.S. on the brink

By Meghan Rosen 5:12pm, July 28, 2016
First potential cases of locally spread Zika crop up in the continental United States, estimates of infection risk, antibodies that can fight the virus and a new mosquito species that may be able to carry Zika.
Plants,, Genetics

Why a parasitic vine can’t take a bite out of tomatoes

By Helen Thompson 2:00pm, July 28, 2016
Cultivated tomatoes fend off parasitic vines as they would microbes.
Planetary Science

Rosetta spacecraft has stopped listening for Philae lander

By Emily Conover 2:30pm, July 27, 2016
Rosetta is no longer listening for communications from the comet lander Philae.
Animals,, Conservation

Neonicotinoids are partial contraceptives for male honeybees

By Susan Milius 7:08pm, July 26, 2016
Male honeybees produce less living sperm if raised on pollen tainted with neonicotinoids, tests show.

Science News reporters answer your questions about aging

By Science News Staff 12:36pm, July 26, 2016
Three Science News reporters will answer questions related to a special issue on aging in a Reddit AMA on Tuesday, July 26, at 3 p.m. EDT.
Animals,, Health,, Science & Society

Getting rid of snails is effective at stopping snail fever

By Amy McDermott 2:00pm, July 21, 2016
For the tropical disease snail fever, managing host populations is more effective than drugs.
Particle Physics,, Cosmology,, Physics

Latest search for dark matter comes up empty

By Emily Conover 4:30am, July 21, 2016
Scientists continue to come up empty-handed in the search for dark matter. The latest effort from the LUX experiment found no evidence for dark matter.
Animals,, Ecology

Some primates prefer nectar with a bigger alcohol kick

By Helen Thompson 2:00pm, July 20, 2016
Aye-ayes and slow lorises may be able to discern the alcohol content of boozy nectar and go for more potent drinks.
Planetary Science

40 years ago, Viking 1 pioneered U.S. exploration on Mars

By Christopher Crockett 7:00am, July 20, 2016
Forty years ago, Viking 1 became the first U.S. mission to land safely on the surface of Mars.
Cancer,, Health

IVF doesn’t up long-term breast cancer risk, study says

By Helen Thompson 11:38am, July 19, 2016
A Dutch study of more than 25,000 women over two decades suggests that IVF-treated women are no more likely to get breast cancer than other women.
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