Hurricane Matthew has wreaked havoc in Florida and South Carolina. It is expected to cause further damage in North Carolina and Virginia. However, the storm may actually impede Zika-cases in Florida. This is despite leaving at least 7 casualties in the said state.
Hurricane Matthew And Zika In Florida
Florida already has 141 locally transmitted cases of Zika, according to WTVR.com. There's a chance that the given number will cease to increase. This was explained by Bacterial Diseases Branch Chief Ben Beard from the Centers for Diseases Control (CDC) and Prevention's Division Vector-Borne Diseases.
Beard said that hurricanes normally leads to more nuisance mosquitoes and not disease-carrying ones. He added that the heavy rain would wash away larvae from Zika-infected mosquitoes. That includes areas where they are breeding like tires, bottlecaps, bird baths and flower pots.
It means that mosquitoes such as Zika vectors Aedes Aegypti will not be able to reproduce. Thus, it lessens the risk of spreading the Zika virus. Beard also mentioned that the change in the season helps. Mosquito population usually starts to decline in September.
Hurricane Does Not Assure Safety From Zika
However, Professor Dawn Wesson from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine seemed to disagree. People have been displaced from their homes by the storm. This poses more threat to their health. They would be more exposed to mosquito bites.
CDC Spokesman Benjamin Hayes also admitted that some storms could cause viruses to spread.
According to the Miami Herald, Gov. Rick Scott has already asked residents to drain standing water after the hurricane.
Continuous Monitor Of Zika Cases
It might still be too early to make such conclusions. Beard revealed that they are working with the Florida Department of Health. CDC is continuously monitoring Zika cases in Florida. He assured that there are a lot of mosquito surveillance in identifying Zika-carrying mosquitoes.