Media reports say the Zika virus has spread into Florida and other states, with more than 2,200 infections confirmed in the U.S, including over 500 pregnant women. There have been several cases of travel-related Zika in Michigan.

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But a local expert, WMU professor of biological scieneces, Dr. Karin Essani, feels an outbreak here is unlikely. "We're going to see more cases, there's no doubt, in Florida and the southern states, where the climate is warmer," Essani says. "But throughout the U.S., I really don't see this happening. For example, if you take Michigan, I think the chances of having an outbreak here are really, really negligible. We may see more cases here, which are travel-related."

Meanwhile, Essani says scientists are hard at work developing a Zika virus vaccine, The bad news is it could be three years or more before a vaccine is widely available.

"It looks very, very promising," Essani says. "But it's going to be a very slow process. There are two or three phases of the clinical trials, and then manufacturing is going to be another problem. So it will take some time before this vaccine will be available."

(Source: WMU press release)

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