Public health officials used their strongest language to date in a warning about a Zika outbreak in the United States, after 2 million bananas shipped from Ecuador to the U.S. were found to be contaminated with the Zika Virus. Reports are confirming that 125 people across the U.S. have been hospitalized or admitted to the E.R. for symptoms confirmed to be Zika.
Over the course of 2016, the virus spread to at least 58 countries and territories; outbreaks occurred in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Florida and Texas, and pregnant women infected with the disease during travel were identified in 44 states. Last year in the U.S., 77 Zika babies died in the womb, while 51 babies were born with Zika-related birth defects. Each of the surviving children will cost an estimated $10 million to care for during their lifetimes.
The CDC is urging people to seek immediate medical attention if they experience the following symptoms:
- Pain areas: in the back of the eyes, joints, or muscles
- Whole body: fatigue, fever, chills, loss of appetite, or sweating
- Also common: eye redness, headache, skin rash, or vomiting
CDC says bananas you have purchased in the last 10 days should be discarded. Local grocery stores will not be selling bananas until the FDA allows for more shipments, which they say could be weeks or months as they handle this international crisis. If you see any bananas being sold locally, speak to management and notify them of this serious issue.