Two additional Zika infections were confirmed in Florida on Friday, raising the statewide total to 20 reported cases, including seven in Miami-Dade and three in Broward counties, the Department of Health said.
As Zika infections continued to rise in Florida and other states, the nation's top agency for combating infectious disease issued a new warning about the virus — advising Americans that Zika can be transmitted by a man to his sex partners.
“Sexual transmission of Zika virus is possible, and is of particular concern during pregnancy,” said the advisory published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC advises men who might have been exposed to Zika to consider abstaining or using a condom.
Zika is primarily transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquito bites, though spread of the virus also has been reported through blood transfusions.
As of Feb. 10, the CDC had confirmed 52 Zika cases in 16 states and the District of Columbia. In Florida and other states, all Zika infections were acquired outside the country, health officials reported.
The first reported case of sexually transmitted Zika virus is believed to have happened in 2008 in Fort Collins, Colorado, after a researcher traveling to Africa returned home and inadvertently infected his wife.
None of the Florida cases involves pregnant women, who are considered to be at greatest risk because of a suspected link between Zika virus and microcephaly, a birth defect. The CDC has not reported whether any Zika cases in other states involve pregnant women.
Anticipating the first locally acquired infection, the Florida health department activated a Zika information hotline on Friday (855-622-6735) offering daily updates and answers to questions from the public.
“We have made it a priority to stay ahead of the possible spread of this virus in Florida,” Gov. Rick Scott said in a written statement announcing the hotline.