Published On: Wed, Aug 24th, 2016

Zika Virus: Florida Announces Five New Cases

Florida’s governor has announced five new cases of Zika, including one in the Tampa Bay area, 265 miles (425 km) north of Miami.

Florida Five New Cases Zika

Four other cases of the virus, which is often spread by mosquitoes, were found in Wynwood in Miami, where officials have sprayed pesticides.

The Tampa case involves a woman in Pinellas County without a travel history, suggesting local transmission.

The news brings the total number of the state’s local transmission cases to 42.

The governor said officials have yet to declare Pinellas County as a zone of active transmission despite the new case in the area.

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) is investigating whether the Pinellas County resident was infected while visiting a neighbouring county, he added.

“While this investigation is ongoing, DOH still believes that ongoing active transmissions are only occurring in the two previously identified areas in Wynwood and Miami Beach,” the governor said in a statement.

Mr Scott said authorities have cleared half of the area in Wynwood believed to be the source of ongoing active transmission and were working to begin aggressive spraying and mosquito abatement efforts in Pinellas County.

State health officials have warned pregnant women against travelling to Miami Beach over concerns of Zika, which can cause life-threatening birth defects.

Health officials believe the virus can cause microcephaly, in which infants develop with abnormally small heads.

Critics of the state’s response have accused Mr Scott of delaying updates on the crisis in an effort to downplay the threat to Florida tourists.

But Mr Scott has said he and the state remain “fully committed” to help counties combat the virus’s spread.

The governor has also urged Congress to release additional funding to the the state over Zika concerns.

Zika virus around the world

  • More than 60 countries and territories now have continuing transmission of Zika
  • Cases of Zika-related birth defects have been centred in Brazil, with about 1,800 instances confirmed to date
  • At least 1,955 people in the US have contracted Zika while travelling outside of the country, and about 22 cases have been sexually transmitted
  • So far 25 people have contracted the virus from local mosquitoes in Florida
  • The US territory of Puerto Rico has seen nearly 6,500 locally acquired cases and 30 associated with travel