Health Officials: 'High Likelihood' of Local Zika Transmission in Miami-Dade, Broward

There is a “high likelihood” that some of the non-travel related cases of the Zika virus in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties are the result of local transmission, potentially marking the first local spread of the virus by mosquitoes in the continental U. S., the Florida Department of Health announced today.

Florida health officials say that an “active transmission” of the Zika virus is likely occurring in one small area of Miami-Dade County — just north of downtown — that includes Wynwood, a neighborhood in Miami.  Public health officials are investigating four suspected cases of likely local transmission in both Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. No “active transmission” areas were cited in Broward County.

072916-local-zika-map500The exact “active transmission” location in Miami targeted by health officials is about one-square mile,  and is within the following boundaries: NW 5th Avenue to the west, US 1 to the east, NW/NE 38th Street to the north and NW/NE 20th Street to the south.

“While no mosquitoes trapped tested positive for the Zika virus, the department believes these cases were likely transmitted through infected mosquitoes in this area,” says the Florida Health Department.

Zika, already prevalent in much of Latin America and the Caribbean, is believed to cause microcephaly when contracted in pregnancy. This is a serious birth defect in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and other health concerns. Florida’s small case cluster is “not considered widespread transmission” at this time, the Health Department said.

The department said it is conducting “door-to-door outreach and urine sample collection” in the affected area and will release more details as they become available.

“The results from these efforts will help the department determine the number of people affected,” Florida health officials said in a statement. “These local cases were identified by clinicians who brought them to the attention of the department. In addition, blood banks in the area are currently excluding donations from impacted areas until screening protocols are in place.”

The four cases in Florida involved one woman and three men in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said today.

“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,” he said.

The Florida Health Department‘s Zika information hotline is 1-855-622-6735.

Helpful Zika-related links:

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