Local Zika Virus Transmission Confirmed in Florida

Posted on July 29, 2016

Female Aedes aegypti mosquito

Local transmission of the Zika virus is occurring in the state of Florida. There are at least four cases in the first U.S. outbreak. The cases are all in an area of northern Miami where the virus is being transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. The virus is linked to infant microcephaly and other birth defects.

ABC News reports that Florida Gov. Rick Scott confirmed the outbreak today. Scott says, "This means Florida has become the first state in our nation to have local transmission of the Zika virus." He also says, "We’re being very aggressive at testing people there we are testing the mosquitoes there and we spraying to make sure it's contained."

Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC, says in a statement, "All the evidence we have seen indicates that this is mosquito-borne transmission that occurred several weeks ago in several blocks in Miami. We continue to recommend that everyone in areas where Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are present—and especially pregnant women—take steps to avoid mosquito bites. We will continue to support Florida's efforts to investigate and respond to Zika and will reassess the situation and our recommendations on a daily basis."

The mosquito species involved is the Aedes aegypti. It is located in many states across the southern part of the U.S. and up along the east coast. You can see a distribution map here.

CBS News medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula says local transmission was not unexpected. She says it was "just a matter of time." She also expects it to spread to other U.S. states, primarily in the southeastern U.S. Take a look:

Image: James Gathany/CDC

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