2nd possible non-travel Zika case investigated in Florida

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Health officials are investigating a possible non-travel-related case of Zika virus in Broward County, Florida, the state Department of Health said Thursday.

This individual has not traveled to an area where the virus is circulating. However, sexual transmission from a person who has traveled has not been ruled out, Florida Department of Health Communications Director Mara Gambineri said.

“Residents and visitors are urged to participate in requests for blood and urine samples by the department in the areas of investigation. These results will help the department determine the number of people affected,” the agency said.

A senior epidemiologist from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is in Florida to assist state and local health officials with the investigation.

The investigation, announced Thursday, is in addition to the ongoing investigation announced this week of a suspected non-travel-related case of Zika in Miami-Dade County. “We continue to investigate and have not ruled out travel or sexual transmission at this time.” Gamnineri said.

As of Friday, approximately 200 people have been interviewed and tested for both investigations. Lab results are pending, although there was no indication of when those results will be available. In addition, mosquito surveillance is underway in the areas where both individuals live, work and frequently visit, the department said Friday.

To date, there are 353 cases of Zika virus in the state of Florida, including 47 pregnant women. Nineteen of those cases were newly reported Friday in the state’s daily Zika update.

As of July 20, the CDC reported 1,404 cases of the virus in the continental United States and Hawaii. None of those cases is a result of local mosquito transmission. Fifteen of those individuals were infected by sexual transmission, and there is one case of a laboratory-acquired infection. (The CDC updates its numbers weekly on Thursday, so those numbers do not count Thursday’s newly reported cases in Florida or other states).

Federal, state and local health officials nationwide have been preparing for locally acquired cases of the virus for months. “Officials from Florida participated in all these activities, and their experience in responding to mosquito-borne diseases similar to Zika, including dengue and chikungunya, has been an important source of knowledge in this effort,” the CDC said.

U.S. health officials have warned to expect local transmission of the virus from mosquitoes but not to expect widespread transmission, as has been seen in Puerto Rico and throughout the Americas.

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