CDC believes Hawaii dengue outbreak may foreshadow Zika on mainland US

| | January 22, 2016
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A new report on an outbreak of dengue fever in Hawaii may foreshadow how Zika virus infections could play out in the United States.

The outbreak, on Hawaii’s Big Island, involves local spread of a virus that does not typically circulate in the state. That’s a scenario experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expect to see happen in parts of the United States with the Zika virus, now sweeping rapidly through South and Central America and the Caribbean.

Zika virus, which causes mild flu-like symptoms in people who contract it, is suspected to be linked to a surge in births of babies with abnormally small heads — a condition called microcephaly. Brazil, which has been experiencing an explosive Zika virus outbreak, has reported a 20-fold rise in microcephaly births in recent months.

Dengue and Zika are both flaviviruses. Dengue causes more severe illness than Zika virus does, though it has not been reported to trigger birth defects in the offspring of women infected during pregnancy.

Both are spread by Aedes mosquitoes. Southern sections of the United States have Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are known to transmit both viruses, while big parts of the central and eastern U.S. have Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, which can transmit dengue virus and may be able to spread Zika too.

Read full, original post: Will Hawaii’s dengue outbreak foreshadow how Zika will play out in the US?

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