In the weeks since mosquitoes carrying the virus hit U.S. borders, they have already spread from a small suburban community in South Florida to Miami’s most popular tourist spot, South Beach. The development prompted a travel advisory from the CDC urging pregnant women to avoid the area.
The National Institutes of Health’s director thinks the situation is likely to get worse soon. Texas and Louisiana are likely to be next, particularly now where you have the situation with flooding in Louisiana, and large amounts of standing water.
Over the past year, infections from the virus have reached epidemic proportions in parts of the world. WHO has said that Zika may be responsible for thousands of babies being born with microcephaly and for some adults coming down with neurological conditions. More than 50 countries have been impacted, with Brazil being the epicenter of the outbreak.
The United States had been mostly spared until now, but officials have been warning that the arrival of Zika in the country was inevitable because of the way the mosquitoes travel north during the summer months. There had been concern that athletes and tourists returning to their home countries after the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro could accelerate the spread of the virus.
There’s some bad news on that front. A new analysis by the nonprofit group Climate Central shows that because of climate change, mosquito seasons are lengthening. According to a Capital Weather Gang report, Baltimore and Durham, N.C., top the list of growing mosquito seasons, with a 37-day increase in the season of bug bites since 1980. The season is Minneapolis has grown by 34 days, in Myrtle Beach, S.C., by 34 days, in Raleigh, N.C., by 33 days and in Portland, Maine, by 32 days.