Florida investigating first local Zika case outside of Miami

Florida investigating first local Zika case outside of Miami
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Florida health officials are investigating another new case of the Zika virus, marking the 16th person believed to have contracted the disease from mosquitoes in two weeks.

The newest case was reported in Palm Beach County, though health officials believe the person was infected during a recent trip to Miami-Dade County, according to a statement from Florida’s Department of Health on Monday.

Local transmission of Zika has only been reported in one part of the continental U.S. — a one-square mile just north of downtown Miami.

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Because of the Zika virus’s link to birth defects, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a travel warning for pregnant women to avoid the region.

Though officials don’t believe mosquitoes are spreading the disease in Palm Beach, local agencies there are beginning “door-to-door outreach and sampling” while also stepping up efforts to control mosquitoes.

“DOH still believes active transmissions are only taking place within the identified area that is less than one-square mile in Miami-Dade County,” the statement reads.

Federal officials at the CDC said they have expected some additional cases of Zika in Florida and possibly elsewhere in the southern parts of the U.S.

But a new case of Zika outside in Palm Beach County could signal the Zika-carrying mosquitoes are spreading more quickly.

Nearly 1,000 pregnant women in the continental U.S. and its territories have been infected with Zika. In total, about 7,373 people in the U.S. have reported cases of Zika.

The caseload in the U.S. is growing quickly this summer amid a fierce political debate over how to fund a national response to the virus. 

Congress departed for its seven-week recess in July without agreeing to a funding package for Zika — turning it into an attack point by both parties.