4 Confirmed Cases Of Zika Contracted In FL

Posted at 6:30 PM, Jul 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-29 19:55:02-04

It's the news many have been fearing: Zika has made its way to the U.S.

While health departments have reported almost 2,000 cases in the U.S., until now they've all be contracted out of the country or through sexual transmission.

Sixteen of those cases are in Tennessee while Kentucky reports 10 cases so far.

This new development means mosquitoes on U.S. soil are now infected. And the fear is, that could mean more people will come down with the virus as well.

The Lim and Wong families have been spending a lot of time outside this summer.

Catching up with them at Centennial Park, about half the family told NewsChannel 5 they're mosquito magnets.

"We're the attraction for mosquitoes!" they said.

They're taking extra precautions, these days especially. And that's exactly what the health department says your family needs to do.

"Have that layer of protection whether it's a repellent, whether it's long sleeves long pants," said Metro Health Dept. Spokesperson Brian Todd.

Health officials in Florida report now, the Zika Virus is officially on U.S. soil.

Health care workers are going door to door in Miami after at least four people in a one mile area were infected. They're also asking blood banks to stop taking donations unless the blood can be tested for the virus.

"Here in Nashville we know that is a possibility so that's why we've been so focused on trying to get those preventative messages out," Todd said.

It's generally a mild virus - in fact most people don't know they have it. But it's also been connected with severe birth defects in some newborns whose mothers contract the virus while pregnant.

Could it spread to Nashville? Absolutely. But will it is the question.

"It's too early to say right now," Todd said, "that's something that we can prepare for."

If you're pregnant the CDC says stay away from highly infected countries.

"If you're planning on travel you may want to delay that," said Todd.

The Lim and Wong families say they always wear bug spray.

"Arms and legs and sometimes the back of our necks," said the kids.

That way they can spend time together outside without fear.

The Metro Health Dept. recommends you wear bug spray, long sleeves and pants as often as possible. Also protect your home by adding screens to your windows and dumping any standing water. Scientists discovered more than 1,000 mosquito eggs in a body of water so small it would fit in a bottle cap.

If you're not pregnant and get Zika, your body will get rid of the virus eventually. That means future pregnancies should not be at risk. The World Health Organization advises you wait six months to get pregnant, just in case.