CDC, Florida probing possible Zika case from Miami mosquito

There are new concerns over how the Zika virus is spread in Florida. Zika also can be spread through unprotected sex with someone who is infected.

Mara Gambineri, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Health, said Wednesday that it has not been confirmed the infection came from a local mosquito. For the record, the caregiver has never had any sexual contact with Zika-infected person nor visited a Zika outbreak area.

Zika is a virus usually spread through bites from two types of Aedes mosquitoes, but it can spread from infected men to their partners through sexual contact.

The virus could not have arrived in mosquitoes flying up from South America, he explained.

Florida Department of Health officials announced in a brief statement Tuesday they were investigating a potential case of local transmission in Miami-Dade County.

The CDC recommends that women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant postpone travel to Zika-affected areas.

"We strongly warn everyone - especially pregnant women or women planning to become pregnant - avoid traveling to countries where Zika virus is circulating".

But if none of these things happened, "it leaves you with the possibility that this was acquired locally", Adalja said.

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Florida, Texas and other parts of the Gulf Coast are considered at highest risk of local transmission of the mosquito-borne virus.

Florida's Department of Health is investigating a case of non-travel-related Zika in Miami-Dade County. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes).

People in the USA also usually have screens on their windows and use air conditioning, all of which prevent exposure to mosquitoes, Adalja said.

Evaristo Miqueli, a natural resources officer with Broward County Mosquito Control, takes water samples decanted from a watering jug, checking for the presence of mosquito larvae, Tuesday, June 28, 2016, in Pembroke Pines, Florida.

Travelers can prevent Zika and accidental infection of a baby during pregnancy. He said, "I just got out of a meeting with a GNOC board member and they advised me to be ready with my long sleeves and my mosquito repellent - I'm not really anxious about it - I'm running in the 100 meters and training and that's what I'm anxious about". It causes only a mild illness in most people. But that study was conducted before the rise of Zika, and people's attitudes may have changed since then, Adalja said.

The CDC has confirmed that the virus is responsible for causing severe defects in unborn children, including microcephaly, which leaves babies with abnormally small heads and often with brains that do not develop properly.

The large number of Zika cases occurring worldwide "will hopefully change opinions there", Adalja said.

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