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Zika virus in US: 10 more cases of local transmission in Florida

More than 1,600 Zika cases have been reported in the US, but previously all cases were linked to travel to the affected areas or sexual contact with an infected person
Zika virus grips US.

Zika virus is spreading its tentacles in the US. As many as 10 more cases caused by locally transmitted Zika virus were reported from the state of Florida today, Governor Rick Scott said.

The governor said the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has alerted all pregnant women or those who are expecting not to take any unnecessary trips to north of Miami, from where the virus had spread to other regions, Xinhua news agency reported.

Health department have begun to inspect people living in in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, officials said.
According to them, four locally spread Zika cases were reported on July 19, however, the areas were ruled out from the regions of possible local Zika transmissions.

Officials at the Florida Department of Health (DOH) said active Zika transmissions were being reported from only from the same square-mile area of Miami. Of the 10 new cases, announced on Monday, six are asymptomatic and were identified from the door-to-door community survey that DOH is conducting.

“Following today’s (Monday’s) announcement, I have requested that the CDC activate their Emergency Response Team to assist DOH in their investigation, research and sample collection efforts,” Scott said.

“Their team will consist of public health experts whose role is to augment our response efforts to confirmed local transmissions of Zika virus,” he added.

Florida would try to continue to keep residents and visitors safe utilising constant surveillance and aggressive strategies, such as increased mosquito spraying, that has allowed the state to fight similar viruses.

“While I encourage all residents and visitors to continue to use precaution by draining standing water and wearing bug spray, Florida remains safe and open for business,” he said.

“This year, we have already welcomed a record 30 million tourists and we look forward to welcoming more visitors to Florida this summer.”

So far, the DOH has conducted testing for Zika virus for more than 2,300 people statewide and more than 200 individuals in Miami-Dade and Broward counties who live or work near the four individuals that have already been confirmed with likely mosquito-borne transmissions, Xinhua news agency reported.

Of the 14 individuals identified, two are women and 12 are men. More than 1,600 Zika cases have been reported in the US, but previously all cases had been linked to travel to the affected areas or sexual contact with an infected person.

Most people infected with Zika won’t have symptoms, but for those who do, the illness is usually mild. However, Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other severe fetal birth defects.

IANS

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