Florida Health Officials Confirm Zika Virus is Being Transmitted by Local Infected Mosquitoes
July 29, 2016
Miami blood donations halted in order to minimize the possibility of an emerging local outbreak of Zika virus.
Four individuals in Miami-Dade and Broward counties have been infected with the Zika virus by local mosquitoes, Florida health officials said Friday.
These are the first known cases of the virus being transmitted by mosquitoes in the continental United States.
"While no mosquitoes trapped tested positive for the Zika virus, the department believes these cases were likely transmitted through infected mosquitoes in this area," according to a statement from the Florida Department of Health.
Officials believe the local transmission is confined to a small area north of downtown Miami within a single ZIP code. However, local, state and federal health officials are continuing their investigation, which includes going door-to-door to ask residents for urine samples and other information in an effort to determine how many people may be infected. It is possible that someone could have Zika without knowing since 80% of those infected have no symptoms. Symptoms of the virus include fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes, and they can last from a few days to about a week.
To date, there have been 386 cases of Zika in the state of Florida, including 55 pregnant women. The counties with the highest number of cases are Miami-Dade with 99 and Broward with 55.
Blood donations halted
The main way people become infected with the virus is through the bite of an infected mosquito. The female Aedes aegypti and its sister, Aedes albopictus, are the primary vectors, but people can also become infected through other methods, including sexual transmission. Babies can become infected in utero, and there are confirmed cases of transmission from blood transfusion and laboratory exposure.
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