The Zika virus is reported to have a new area of transmission in Florida, according to officials. Previously the mosquito-born virus was transmitted in several areas in the state, leading to 164 reported cases of infection.
This latest development indicates that the disease has now been transmitted locally in Miami-Dade County, covering an area of approximately one square mile. Florida governor Rick Scott relayed the news to several press outlets, saying that the state health department confirmed two women and three men have been infected.
The panic surrounding the virus is due to how the infection affects pregnant women; just last month researchers in Brazil confirmed that the rise in microcephaly – children born with smaller heads and severely underdeveloped brains – is a direct result of the rising Zika epidemic. The virus was first detected in Brazil last year and there are now 1800 cases of infection.
In a press statement released this past week, Scott says this news highlights the “urgent need” for federal funding to help combat this virus. Federal funding was approved as recently as two weeks ago, yet the state has yet to receive any assistance.
“With the confirmation of today’s case, this area now meets the CDC’s criteria for a new zone,” officials said in a statement. Officials urge people to reconsider any travel plans to Florida, particularly for pregnant women.
Key Zika Facts:
– According to the World Health Organization, symptoms include mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. They normally last for 2-7 days.
– Two cases of Zika transmission reported in the US in Miami, FL
– Two cases of mosquito-borne Zika reported in three US territories
– For a list of all countries with active Zika virus transmission, visit the CDC’s map of affected nations.
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