Florida Finally Free of Locally Acquired Zika

(CN) – Florida is free of locally acquired Zika cases for the first time since July after the last zone of ongoing Zika transmission was declared clear of the virus Friday.

Zika outbreaks in the Sunshine State prompted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to lift the “red area” designation in the South Beach area of Miami Beach, which warned pregnant women and couples planning to get pregnant to avoid the area.

“The South Beach area now does not have any local transmission of Zika and that’s a very good day for our state,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott told reporters at a press conference Friday.

“We’re going to make sure the state is open for business,” he added.

The South Beach area cleared Friday was the last of four “red area” designation zones in Florida formed in the wake of locally-acquired Zika cases. However, Miami-Dade County is still considered a “cautionary” yellow area by the CDC due to past local virus transmission.

“Florida’s rapid response and comprehensive mosquito control program has allowed them to interrupt Zika transmission, but we must stay vigilant and also take what we have learned and be prepared for next season,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement Friday.

“Pregnant women who live or have been to this area should continue to be evaluated for Zika exposure during their prenatal visits to prevent the devastating effects Zika can cause in their infants.

There have been 249 locally transmitted cases of the Zika virus in Florida, according to the state’s department of health.

Four more Zika cases likely transmitted by mosquitoes in Texas were also reported Friday, which state health officials say were found in the same neighborhood where the state’s first such case was discovered.

The Texas Department of State Health Services said the new cases were found after conducting tests following the state’s first local infection, announced on Nov. 28, was found in a woman who lives in a town along the Mexico border.

“Zika is something we’re going to need to be watching for the foreseeable future,” said department spokesperson Chris Van Deusen.

Texas was the second state in the United States to experience local transmission of Zika.

%d bloggers like this: