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Arrival Of Summer Brings Reminder Of Zika Virus Dangers

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Thirty-eight-year-old Yessica Flores was understandably nervous as she prepared to give birth in January.

She contracted Zika when she was seven weeks pregnant, at the height of Florida’s Zika scare.

When daughter Daniella was born she looked and sounded like any healthy newborn, with no visible symptoms or defects.

Her father gave a prayerful thanks right on the delivery room floor.

Now, still healthy at four months, Daniella continues to be measured and monitored for developmental issues beyond microcephaly.

She appears to be every bit a good, healthy, beautiful baby girl but what are the risks for her going forward?

“Part of the reason we continue to bring her baby back for check-ups is that we want to see are the back of the eyes developing normally, is the baby hearing normally,” explained Dr. Christine Curry with University of Miami Health System.

Doctor Curry heads the Zika response team at the University of Miami.

She says one in ten babies are born to Zika-positive moms have some sort of serious birth defect but she worries that many are not receiving critical follow up care.

“We lose about a quarter of those families after delivery where they go back to their community hospital, their community pediatrician, and then they don’t stay engaged with our care and that means we don’t have any data on what’s happening with them,” said Dr. Curry.

In South Florida, crews are hitting the ground early, using larvicide to kill mosquitos before they hatch.

Last season, Miami-Dade County air-dropped the controversial pesticide Naled in several Zika zones and residents protested.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez hopes it won’t come to that again this year.

They’ve beefed up the mosquito control budget and are pushing community awareness.

“If you don’t plan on having a child etc, it’s still your personal responsibility to make sure you don’t become a transmitter to somebody that does,” said Mayor Gimenez. “That’s what our message is here. All of us have to take care all of us.”

But not every homeowner is up to speed.

Yessica Flores told us she went public to promote awareness so that other pregnant women can avoid the stress and anxiety she suffered.

“I think for the time being we should consider that we live in a time of Zika and this is something that we are going to deal with this season and maybe next season,” said Dr. Curry. “Ultimately until there’s either treatment, vaccination or both, this is the world that we live in.”

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