Florida health officials confirmed the largest number of new Zika infections in a single day on Friday with 10 people affected, raising the statewide total to 246 cases this year, including 43 pregnant women.
The new cases were announced on the same week that state officials reported Florida’s first baby born with a Zika-related birth defect. The baby is at least the fifth child born in the United States with microcephaly, which causes abnormally small heads and incomplete brain development, as a result of the Zika virus.
No Zika cases in Florida or elsewhere in the continental United States have been transmitted locally by mosquito bites, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, at least 13 people had contracted the disease as of June 29 through sexual contact, including one case in Polk County, Florida.
Pregnant women and their children are considered to be at greatest risk from the disease. Researchers have concluded that prenatal Zika infection can cause microcephaly and other brain disorders. Babies with microcephaly often have developmental problems, including intellectual disability, hearing loss, vision problems, and difficulty with movement and balance.
There is no vaccine or specific medical therapy for Zika, which causes symptoms including fever, joint pain, red eyes and rash lasting seven to 10 days, according to the CDC. Only one in five people who acquire the disease show symptoms, however.
Zika virus is primarily spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito but also can be transmitted by blood transfusions and by men to their sexual partners.
Zika cases reported in Florida as of July 1
Number of Cases
Total cases not involving pregnant women
Cases involving pregnant women regardless of symptoms*
* Counties of pregnant women not disclosed.
Source: Florida Department of Health