Florida Zika case could signal first infected mosquitos in U.S.

Florida is investigating a possible non-travel related case of the Zika virus from Miami-Dade County.

FILE - In this January 18, 2016, file photo, a female Aedes aegypti mosquito acquires a blood meal on the arm of a researcher at the Biomedical Sciences Institute in the Sao Paulo's University in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Zika can also be spread sexually. Others have become infected through sexual transmission from someone who got the infection from traveling overseas. Nearly all of the patients were infected while traveling in a Zika-infected area.

More than 1,300 cases of Zika have been reported in the the continental United States and Hawaii. Out of the 797 pregnant women that have been tested, 9 have tested "presumptive positive" for Zika, meaning they are more than likely infected but D.O.H. needed to conduct additional tests to confirm. The type of mosquitoes that carry Zika, called Aedes mosquitoes, are known to live in Florida.

Health officials have said there still is much to learn about the virus, with new information constantly emerging as it spreads. That's because it takes time for the virus to make its way to the mosquito's salivary glands, where it can be transmitted to another person.

Elsewhere, in Utah, health officials are also investigating a unique Zika infection. Miami-Dade has the state's largest number of Zika infections, with 88 people having contracted the virus this year.

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The CDC said it is closely coordinating with Florida officials leading the investigation. It causes only a mild illness in most people. Only about 20 percent of patients notice symptoms. Zika can cause microcephaly, a serious birth defect in which an infant's brain and head are unusually small.

It can also trigger Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which leads the immune system to attack the nerves and may lead to paralysis.

As of Tuesday, there were 283 confirmed cases of the Zika virus throughout the state. The caregiver did not travel to an affected area, but it's possible that a mosquito came back with the relative, perhaps in a suitcase, CDC Director Tom Frieden said. That's because, unlike in many countries where the virus has been spreading, the American lifestyle tends to limit exposure to the mosquitoes - people spend more time indoors here than people do in the South and Central American countries where the virus is now spreading. "There are certainly standard precautions that people should be taking if they're traveling there as an athlete or as a spectator". Partners of pregnant women are advised to use a condom to guard against sexual transmission during pregnancy.

The FDOH, which is working with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, haven't said what part of the county the potential case is in.

"We don't have evidence that Zika can be passed from one person to another by sneezing, coughing, by hugging or kissing", Dr. Satish Pillai told the press as quoted in the report.

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