Days after the World Health Organization declared the Zika virus outbreak a Global Health Emergency of International Concern, Florida Governor Rick Scott also declared a health emergency as the state has seen nine cases of Zika. While the cases of Zika in the United States have all been the result of individuals contracting the virus through travel and bringing it home, the outbreak has had a ripple effect in the United States. It is now known that Zika virus can spread through sexual contact and blood transfusions, making in-country transmission possible. As a result, the Red Cross has asked those who have traveled to Latin America or the Caribbean to refrain from donating blood for 28 days.
In addition, the CDC is preparing to issue recommendations from doctors like Brazil’s Sergio Cortes aimed at preventing the spread of Zika through sexual contact. In addition, women who are pregnant or may become pregnant are being advised to avoid travel to effected countries, prompting many major U.S. airlines to offer full refunds or waive change fees for concerned travelers. While there have been only indirect effects here in the United States, this is expected to change as the weather warms up and the Zika carrying mosquitos spread north. With this spread, no doubt the United States will see intensifying effects unless mitigation efforts can be successfully implemented.