Florida reports new case of locally acquired Zika infection

By: Rebeca PiccardoContact ReporterSun Sentinel

Florida health officials reported a new locally acquired Zika infection in Miami-Dade County on Monday, as well as four new travel-related cases in South Florida.

The person infected in Miami-Dade had “multiple exposures” to areas where mosquitoes were spreading the virus and likely contracted the mosquito-borne Zika virus in 2016, according to the Florida Department of Health. The person did not feel any symptoms, but was tested for the virus in February and state health officials just received confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Because the individual was asymptomatic, it is difficult to determine when infection occurred,” Florida health officials said.

These new infections raise the total number of Zika cases for 2017 to 29 people. The cases reported in Florida this year include 13 pregnant women and two people whose source of infection is undetermined after a health department investigation.

Infections in pregnant woman have been linked to fetal deaths and potentially devastating birth defects — primarily microcephaly, or an unusually small head, often accompanied by severe developmental problem when the infant was born.

The first case of Zika in the mainland U.S. was confirmed in Miami-Dade County by public health officials on Jan. 15, 2016. The patient had been infected in another country and then traveled to South Florida.

By late July, state health officials confirmed the first Zika cases transmitted by local mosquitoes in the Wynwood arts district near downtown Miami. Officials then identified Zika transmission zones in other parts of Miami as well as in Miami Beach.

All local Zika zones were lifted after 45 days “with no evidence of active transmission and no additional people infected,” state officials said. The last advisory was lifted Dec. 9.

“It is not uncommon, however, for there to be isolated incidents of locally acquired Zika,” officials said. “One case does not mean ongoing active transmission is taking place.”

There are currently no areas of ongoing, active transmission of Zika by mosquitoes in Florida, health officials said. However, the federal Centers for Disease Control designated Miami-Dade County as a cautionary area and has issued warnings for pregnant women to postpone traveling to any part of the county.

The last confirmed case of local transmission of Zika in Miami-Dade County was reported on Dec. 21, 2016. Florida health officials continue to advise residents and visitors to Miami-Dade County to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

“The department continues to closely monitor the status of Zika virus in Florida and take action to keep Floridians, especially pregnant women, safe,” officials said.

In total, the department has conducted Zika virus testing for more than 13,020 people statewide. Florida health officials have been monitoring pregnant women with evidence of Zika regardless of symptoms. A total of 300 pregnant women have been or are currently being monitored, the department said.

For more information, Florida residents and visitors can call the Zika Virus Information Hotline at 1-855-622-6735.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s