Is Florida underreporting extent of Zika spread?

Since travel-associated cases of the Zika virus were first identified in the state of Florida in January, the state department of health has published a daily Zika update. In August, after local transmission of Zika was confirmed in the Miami neighborhood of Wynwood, Gov. Rick Scott (R) asserted that the state would provide accurate and timely information on the outbreak. However, according to Miami Herald's Daniel Chang, this information may not be timely or accurate.

According to the Herald, the information released by the Governor and state agencies is not current since it takes time to garner a laboratory diagnosis and lacks details that would provide a more accurate picture of Zika's impact on the state. Since local transmission of the virus has spread beyond Miami, the state has stopped providing details on epidemiological investigations, refused to identify where Zika-carrying mosquitoes were trapped in Miami Beach and will not include anyone who is not a state resident infected with local Zika in the state's counts.

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"I don't think the message has been strong enough, in terms of, 'We have a problem,'" Arthur Caplan, PhD, director of medical ethics for New York University Langone Medical Center, told the Herald. "It makes no sense — unless you see it through the eyes of the impact on tourism. I think that's money driving reporting rather than public health."

As of Wednesday, the Florida Department of Health has reported 70 locally-acquired Zika cases in the state.

To read Daniel Chang's whole report in the Miami Herald, click here.

More articles on the Zika virus: 
Previous immunities may protect Southeast Asia from Zika: 4 things to know 
Bodily fluids may have potential to spread Zika, case study suggests 
NYU researchers: Is Zika an STD?

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