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Zika Update: U.S. to Expect More Cases of Locally Transmitted Zika as Florida Numbers Rise

Aug 02, 2016 03:41 AM EDT
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The U.S. is likely to expect more cases of locally-transmitted Zika virus, health officials warn.

According to health officials, more cases of local Zika transmission are likely to follow after the first incident of local transmission of the virus in Florida was reported on Friday.

But officials note that the spread is unlikely to reach a broader scale as seen in Brazil and Puerto Rico, Reuters reports.

"We definitely don't take this lightly. This is something we always anticipated and prepared for the worst," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a CBS interview on Sunday.

"But we do not feel this is going to turn into that broadly disseminated situation that we've seen in Brazil or that we're seeing in Puerto Rico."

According to Fauci, health authorities are working to reduce mosquitoes in affected areas, and that people should stay indoors, cover up and use insect repellants.

Meanwhile, health officials announced on Monday that 10 more people were believed to have contracted Zika virus via local transmission, bringing the total number of affected people to 14, CBS News reports.

Of the 10 individuals, only four exhibited symptoms of the disease, health officials said.

According to the Florida Department of Health (DOH), the active spread through mosquitoes is occurring in one small area in Miami-Dade County.

"DOH has been testing individuals in three locations in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties for possible local transmissions through mosquito bites," Florida governor Rick Scott said in a statement.

The governor has also called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to mobilize Emergency Response Teams and help local officials in their investigation and mosquito-control efforts.

The CDC recently issued a travel advisory urging pregnant women to avoid traveling to the Wynwood area of Miami, where the locally-transmitted cases were said to have occurred.

"The critical issue now is to prevent these locally acquired cases from becoming sustained and from becoming disseminated," Fauci said.

"There's a lot of activity going on by the local health authorities of very aggressive mosquito abatement control in order to prevent this spread beyond the Dade County area."

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