Health Care

No new local Zika cases in Florida, but travel-related infections rise

A Texas man who acquired Zika virus while traveling to Miami in July returned home to El Paso with that city’s first case of the infectious disease. The man, who was not identified, traveled to Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, the only area in the continental United States identified by health officials as having active transmission of Zika by mosquitoes.
A Texas man who acquired Zika virus while traveling to Miami in July returned home to El Paso with that city’s first case of the infectious disease. The man, who was not identified, traveled to Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, the only area in the continental United States identified by health officials as having active transmission of Zika by mosquitoes. TNS

Florida health officials reported a respite in local Zika infections on Tuesday, but the number of travel-related cases increased by 13, including five cases in Miami-Dade, four in Broward, one each in Hillsborough, Orange and St. Lucie counties. There was also one pregnant woman with the virus.

The number of Zika infections spread by mosquitoes in Florida remains at 30 cases, with 27 of those reported in Miami-Dade, two in Broward and one in Palm Beach.

State health officials said active transmission by mosquitoes is occurring only within an area of less than one-square-mile north of downtown Miami. But epidemiologists are investigating four cases outside of that zone, including three in Miami-Dade and one in Palm Beach.

Florida has reported at least 512 travel-related Zika cases, including 60 pregnant women, who are considered at greatest risk from the disease because it can cause severe birth defects and neurological disorders.

Miami-Dade has the greatest number of Zika cases statewide, with 136 infections picked up by people traveling to areas with active Zika transmission.

The first case related to travel within the continental United States appears to have happened this week, when a Texas man who visited Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood in late July returned home with El Paso’s first case of Zika infection, health officials reported.

Texas has 108 reported cases of Zika statewide, including three pregnant women, two infants infected before birth, and one person who had sexual contact with a traveler who had the disease. But the El Paso man, who has not been identified, appears to be the first travel-related case within the continental United States.

Robert Resendes, director of the City of El Paso Department of Public Health, urged residents to be calm but informed, and assured Texans that no local mosquitoes were carrying the virus.

“This is a gentleman who was healthy when he left El Paso, traveled to Florida, happened to go to the area where there has been transmission of Zika by mosquitoes, came home infected, sick, and sought out medical attention,” Resendes said Monday during a press conference to announce the Zika infection.

Symptoms of Zika include fever, joint pain, a rash and red eyes that can last about one week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Resendes said the man has recovered.

Daniel Chang: 305-376-2012, @dchangmiami

Zika cases reported in Florida as of Aug. 16

County

Number of Cases

Alachua

6

Bay

3

Brevard

11

Broward**

85

Charlotte

1

Citrus

2

Clay

3

Collier

4

Duval

6

Escambia

2

Hernando

4

Highlands

1

Hillsborough

14

Lake

2

Lee

7

Leon

2

Manatee

2

Marion

1

Martin

1

Miami-Dade**

136

Monroe

1

Okaloosa

2

Okeechobee

1

Orange

53

Osceola

18

Palm Beach**

23

Pasco

6

Pinellas

7

Polk

14

Santa Rosa

1

Sarasota

1

Seminole

17

St. Johns

3

St. Lucie

5

Volusia

7

Total cases not involving pregnant women

452

. . .

. . .

Cases involving pregnant women regardless of symptoms

60

* Counties of pregnant women are not disclosed.

** Does not include cases of local transmission.

Source: Florida Department of Health

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