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Health experts stressing preparedness as Zika outbreak hits U.S.

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Posted at 10:48 PM, Aug 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-03 23:32:19-04
Mosquito bites used to be battle scars from late night summer nights.  Now they represent a fear of the Zika virus. Zika has hit Miami, and it's on the move.
 
In south Florida, an outbreak of locally transmitted Zika infected at least 14 people and spurred a massive effort to stop the spread.
 
Experts have predicted this type of outbreak in the U.S. but they're asking people to do their part to prevent the spread.
 
"A mosquito that lives in the U.S. bit that person, replicated within the mosquito and the mosquito was able to bite another person," said Dr. Irina Burd of Johns Hopkins University.
 
Pregnant women and those wanting to get pregnant face the highest risks. 
 
"It's not microcephaly it's other concerns for the brain development as well as development of the whole fetus overall," Burd said. 
 
Plus people don't always know they have the virus.
 
"The majority of people don't even recognize that their infected with Zika," she said.
 
Meaning men can pass it for up to 6 months, and women for up to 6 weeks until it's out of their system.
 
Burd said symptoms may include fever, rash, joint pain, pain in the muscles and eye redness. Up to 80 percent of people don't even present with those, so prevention is key.
 
"This is potentially something that we need to be worried about and that's not necessarily about pregnancy that about adults, men and women alike," Burd said.
 

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We now know Zika is spread in various ways.
 
"Condoms is very important in this because this is not only mosquito transmitted disease, but also sexually transmitted," Burd said.
 
Experts say the best way to protect yourself is to wear some long sleeves, long pants, but also, get yourself good insect repellent.
 
"Using mosquito or insect repellents that are EPA registered is a number one priority," Burd said.
 
And those with Deet.  CJ Ayd is the manager at Ayd's Hardware. He's seen mosquito repellents flying off the shelves.
 
"Their senses are a little more heightened now because everything going with Zika," Ayd said.
 
And there's also natural repellents 
 
"Lemongrass is a great natural repellant, anything that has that citronella scent that we're so accustomed to smelling," Ayd told ABC2.
 
Doctors recommend that anyone pregnant or trying to get pregnant avoid areas where Zika has been detected.
Just this week, the national institute of allergy and infectious diseases announced it was kicking off a trial for a possible Zika vaccine.
 
But that option will likely not be available for several years.
 

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