Epidemiologists continued their investigation into Florida’s first possible case of locally transmitted Zika virus on Wednesday as state health officials reported one new infection in Miami-Dade County acquired by someone traveling outside the country.
Nearly all of Florida’s 327 confirmed Zika infections, including 89 people in Miami-Dade, were acquired by people while they traveled outside the country, except for one case in Polk County that was sexually transmitted, according to the health department.
But the state’s official count does not yet include a Miami-Dade case first reported by the health department on Tuesday as a possible local transmission. If confirmed, the case “would be the first documented Zika infection caused by a mosquito in the Continental United States,’’ the White House said Wednesday in a statement.
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President Obama and Florida Gov. Rick Scott spoke by phone Wednesday about Zika, the White House said. Obama told Scott that in addition to the $2 million the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided the state for Zika preparedness, the CDC is expecting to give Florida another $5.6 million through a CDC grant to be awarded this week, the White House said.
The CDC is collaborating with state and local officials who are leading the investigation, said Shelly Diaz, a CDC spokesperson.
Health officials have not said how the unidentified Miami-Dade resident may have contracted the Zika virus, which is primarily transmitted by the bites of infected Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus species of mosquitoes common in Florida.
The Florida Department of Health will distribute Zika prevention kits and mosquito repellent in the affected Miami-Dade neighborhood — the location has not been disclosed by the state — and make those resources available to county residents. Prevention kits will be reserved for pregnant women, who face the greatest risk from Zika because prenatal infection can cause birth defects and other neurological disorders, according to medical research.
Mara Gambineri, a spokeswoman for the health department, said the Zika prevention kits were due to arrive Wednesday and will contain items recommended by the CDC, including bed nets, condoms and tablets that kill mosquito larvae in standing water.
Miami-Dade residents can call 305-324-2400 for more information.
More than 1,300 cases of Zika have been reported in the continental United States and Hawaii as of July 13, according to the CDC. No cases have been the result of local transmission by mosquitoes, the CDC has reported, though 14 are believed to be the result of sexual transmission and one was caused by laboratory exposure.
Zika cases reported in Florida as of July 20
Number of Cases
Total cases not involving pregnant women
Cases involving pregnant women regardless of symptoms*
* Counties of pregnant women are not disclosed.
** Possible non-travel related case not included
Source: Florida Department of Health