Researchers to study neurological effects of Zika in children


In addition, a continuing University of Colorado surveillance study characterizing the incidence and pattern of dengue virus in children in the study area (southwestern Guatemala) has confirmed active Zika virus transmission and high Zika virus infection rates in children with fever.

Here's the good news: No one has yet caught the virus from a mosquito in California.

Although Zika has faded from the headlines, researchers say the latest findings highlight the need for continued and improved mosquito surveillance.

"Our goal is to control this mosquito population", health officer Dr. Anissa Davis said in a release. Researchers will follow the participants for at least 1 year to compare the outcomes of Zika-infected participants with those of non-Zika-infected participants, all of whom will regularly undergo screening for potential new Zika, dengue and chikungunya virus infections, as well as regular examinations assessing for microcephaly, encephalitis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, seizures, neurodevelopmental delays, hearing loss, eye problems and other neurologic issues.

Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency room physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, agreed that more surveillance is in order. They have deployed a variety of traps for adult mosquitoes and mosquito eggs surrounding the location where the mosquitoes were found and additional locations where they may be found.

Zika virus transmission is ongoing in parts of Guatemala, according to the Pan American Health Organization.

The total body of evidence now runs from 1995 to 2016.

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Since 1995, Aedes aegypti has been documented in all states in the southern portion of the United States, with the most widespread presence in southern California, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana and Florida.

Noting that the mosquito thrives in subtropical and tropical climates, the researchers said low winter temperatures may keep them from spreading north.

Meanwhile, nationwide, 136 Zika virus disease cases have been reported, out of which 135 cases were reported in travelers who had returned to the US from ZIka-affected areas, according to CDC. Although the California Department of Public Health reports Aedes albopictus mosquito sightings in several locales in southeastern Los Angeles County, this is the first report of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in Long Beach, according to the city.

The maps are based on collection records that represent the presence of the mosquito in a county, not its abundance. Study clinicians will counsel families that choose to enroll their children as participants in the study on how to best prevent Zika infection, as well as other mosquito-borne illnesses.

And, bug repellants are one way to avoid bites. "A product containing 10 percent DEET can protect you for up to 90 minutes", Glatter said.

The findings were published June 19 in the Journal of Medical Entomology. Investigators also will examine levels of Zika virus nucleic acid and neutralizing antibodies in participants to see if certain thresholds correlate with specific clinical, neurologic or neurodevelopmental outcomes.