Local Zika Transmission Confirmed In Florida

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Update: Today Florida Governor Rick Scott announced that the number of cases acquired from local mosquitoes (rather than travel to Zika-affected areas) has risen from four to 14, the AP reports. Continue to our original story below to learn more about the virus in Florida.

This article was originally published on July 29, 2016.

Earlier this week, Florida health officials announced that they were looking into two possible cases of local Zika transmission. Today, CNN reports they've confirmed that those two cases (plus two others) were likely acquired locally, rather than via travel to an area already battling a Zika outbreak or by having sex with someone who'd traveled to those areas.

The country has already seen over 1,600 travel-related cases of the virus, according to CDC stats. But these four patients — located in Miami-Dade and Broward counties — would be the first instances of Zika virus being acquired from local mosquitoes in the U.S.

This morning, Florida Governor Rick Scott said that mosquitoes in the state still had not actually tested positive for Zika. But because travel-related transmission had been ruled out in these four cases, local transmission is assumed to be the cause.

Public health experts have been saying this kind of spread of the virus would be inevitable for months now. But there's no need to freak out. Although small, localized outbreaks like this may be increasingly common, a widespread outbreak is very unlikely. And it's always good to remember that, although the virus does pose risks for pregnant women, it's a mild illness for most people.
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