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New Zika Virus Transmission Area Confirmed in Florida

OCT 14, 2016 | BRIAN DUNLEAVY
A new Zika virus case cluster has emerged in Miami, according to the Florida Department of Health (DOH).

In a release on October 13, the DOH announced that 5 new cases of the mosquito-borne virus had been identified in a 1-square-mile area in north Miami, a neighborhood known as Little Haiti. All are suspected to be locally transmitted, meaning that they were acquired from mosquitoes native to the area. Of the 5 new cases, two are women. In all, the DOH reports that three of the cases live in the affected neighborhood, while the other two individuals work in the area.

With the new cases, there have now been more than 1,000 total cases of Zika virus confirmed among Florida residents. Of these, however, only 155 are locally transmitted. To date, 106 cases in the state have involved pregnant women.

“DOH continues door-to-door outreach and targeted testing in Miami-Dade County and mosquito abatement and reduction activities are also taking place around the locations that are being investigated,” the agency said in a statement. “DOH believes ongoing transmission is only taking place within the identified areas in Miami-Dade County. One case does not mean ongoing active transmission is taking place. DOH conducts a thorough investigation by sampling close contacts and community members around each case to determine if additional people are infected. If DOH finds evidence that active transmission is occurring in an area, the media and the public will be notified.”

Abatement, of course, involves extensive spraying with larvicide and pesticide. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed Zika-related travel precautions for the Wynwood area of Miami last month after spraying apparently eradicated the neighborhood of virus-carrying Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes. More than 40 locally-transmitted cases had been confirmed in that neighborhood alone.
 
Brian P. Dunleavy is a medical writer and editor based in New York. His work has appeared in numerous healthcare-related publications. He is the former editor of Infectious Disease Special Edition.
 
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