Three Cases of Zika Virus Confirmed in Florida; Battle with Zika Virus Not Over, Surgeon General Warns
Mar 03, 2017 10:11 AM EST
Three new cases of the Zika virus were confirmed by Florida health officials on Thursday. Although locally acquired, these cases will reportedly not result to new Zika zones within the city or in the neighboring South Beach streets.
According to the Florida Department of Health, two of the cases had samples gathered in October as part of their ongoing investigation. Confirmatory testing was received from the CDC with both cases being added to the 2016 data. "The third case reported no symptoms, but screening conducted after blood donation in January showed evidence of a past infection," officials added.
The health officials also explained that the patient was exposed multiple times in Miami-Dade County and that it was possible that the Zika virus was contracted in 2016. “Because the individual was asymptomatic, it is difficult to determine when infection occurred,” they explained. “Since the first positive sample was collected in January, this is considered our first locally reported case of Zika in 2017."
On the other hand, Florida remains free from areas with an active and ongoing transmission of Zika virus. With the addition of the two new cases, Florida has a total of 1,384 reported Zika cases for 2016. In 2017, the state has a total of 18 Zika cases so far.
In December, Gov. Rick Scott announced that the last Zika zone in Florida, situated between South Beach’s eighth and 28th streets, has been lifted. However, health department secretary Dr. Celeste Philip warned the public of being overconfident of the battle against the Zika virus.
"We will continue to see travelers bringing Zika infections into our state and so we must remain on alert and continue all the protective efforts that we’ve doing that have led to this success," Philip pointed out. Florida’s surgeon general also reminded the public of regularly using repellent and keeping one’s skin covered often as well as remembering the risks associated with sexual transmission.