Zika Virus Continues to Spread in Miami Area

     (CN) — Two new cases of locally acquired Zika infections were reported in Miami-Dade County, the Florida Department of Health confirmed Monday.
     The total of number of local transmissions of the virus is now 30. No other state has reported cases of Zika contracted domestically from a mosquito bite.
     The state’s health department is reviewing four areas in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties where local transmissions of Zika possibly occurred, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said in a press release.
     “I have stayed in constant communication with Mayor Carlos Gimenez of Miami-Dade County to ensure the county has all of the resources they need. The Department of Health has been fulfilling requests for Miami-Dade County since June, and they are expediting the county’s additional request made on Friday for funding for additional staff and mosquito traps,” Scott said Monday.
     There have been 440 travel-related Zika infections in Florida, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 470. Of the reported cases, 59 infections involved pregnant women.
     Despite the uncertainty of where the infections transpired, the state health department still believes the active transmissions are only occurring within less than a one-square-mile area of Wynwood, a neighborhood in Miami.
     The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has tested more than 25,000 mosquitoes in the state for Zika. None of the mosquitoes tested positive for the virus, officials said.
     The health department closed out the investigations into the first cases in Miami-Dade and Broward counties that were announced on July 29. The department tested 124 close contacts and individuals within from the community and found no additional Zika infections.
     The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that women who are pregnant or wish to become pregnant avoid or postpone travel to areas with widespread active transmission.
     The Zika virus is particularly dangerous for women due to Zika’s connection to microcephaly and other congenital disorders. Microcephaly leads to babies having abnormally small heads and may cause brain damage.
     The CDC does not consider Florida’s limited case cluster as a widespread transmission. However, Texas health officials said Monday that a Texas resident caught the Zika virus while traveling in Flordia and brought it home.
To date, all of Texas’ Zika cases have been people who traveled to affected regions, although state officials said they’re “on alert for the possibility of local transmission.”

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