Governor Scott says Florida likely has first Zika case in U.S. from local mosquito bite


  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
The Florida Department of Health has concluded a "high likelihood" exists that four cases of the Zika virus in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties were transmitted by local mosquitoes. 

The cases would be the first local transmissions in the continental U.S., according to CNN. In a press release, Gov. Rick Scott says health officials believe active transmissions of the virus are happening in a small area north of downtown Miami. The four cases involve three men and a woman, though none of them exhibited symptoms to be admitted to a hospital. 

"While no mosquitoes have tested positive for the Zika virus, [Department of Health] is aggressively testing people in this area to ensure there are no other cases," Scott says in a statement. "If you live in this area and want to be tested, I urge you to contact the county health department which stands ready to assist you."

The state recently allocated $26.2 million in state funds for the fight against the mosquitoes that carry the virus. While the majority of people infected show none of the mild symptoms associated with the virus, Zika has been linked to Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome, a severe neurological disorder that causes temporary paralysis, and fetal birth defects such as microcephaly. 

"We know this virus is most detrimental to expecting mothers," Scott says. "If you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant and live in the impacted area, I urge you to contact your OB/GYN for guidance and to receive a Zika prevention kit. I also ask every Floridian to take proper precautions by eliminating any standing water and wearing insect repellent."

Scott says he's also directed the state Health Department to do several things, including providing $620,000 to the state's primary blood bank, OneBlood, for blood screening, and $1.28 million in state funds to the Miami-Dade and Broward Counties Mosquito Control Districts. Scott says health officials will also partner with tourism officials at Visit Florida to distribute repellant and Zika prevention kits to pregnant women visiting impacted areas in Florida. 

If you have questions or concerns about virus, call the Zika hotline at 1-855-622-6735. 

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