Florida has a Zika problem and it is spreading. Governor Rick Scott today said the state Health Department has identified ten more people who likely contracted the virus through mosquito bites. The state confirmed its first four non-travel-related cases of the virus last week.
The CDC is recommending that women returning from a Zika-affected area of Florida not get pregnant for eight weeks.
The new cases are all in Miami-Dade county, no new cases in addition to the two diagnosed in Broward County. The Governor says so far no mosquitoes have tested positive for carrying the Zika virus. The governor’s office said it believes transmission of the virus is occurring only in a small area of Miami-Dade County, north of downtown called Wynwood. There are travel warnings for pregnant women not to travel to Wynwood. It is a one mile square radius area where 12 cases have been identified as locally acquired.
Six of the ten cases are people who were not displaying symptoms. They were diagnosed after a door-to-door campaign was waged by health experts who were testing urine. 80 percent of people infected with Zika do not have symptoms which include, red eyes, rash, fever and joint pain.
Scott also asked the CDC to send an emergency response team to help combat the virus.
According to the most recent update from the CDC, there have been 13 babies born in the U.S. with Zika-related birth defects like microcephaly.
To date, there have been 396 cases of Zika in the state of Florida, including 55 pregnant women. The counties with the highest number of cases are Miami-Dade and Broward.
The outbreak could affect tourism. The United Kingdom had already issued a travel advisory that asks pregnant women to avoid travel to Florida unless absolutely necessary.