5 Zika cases linked to new area of transmission in Florida

5 Zika cases linked to new area of transmission in Florida
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Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) said Friday that five Zika cases have been linked to a new area of transmission of the virus in Miami Beach, Fla.

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The development means that the area of transmission of Zika has expanded beyond the one area of Miami that had previously been the only area of local Zika transmission. 

“This means we believe we have a new area where local transmissions are occurring,” Scott said at a press conference.

He said the transmissions are occurring in a less than 1.5-square-mile area in Miami Beach. 

The gradually increasing number of cases in Florida comes as both parties have continued to blame each other for a lack of congressional action to approve new funds to fight the virus. 

The Obama administration recently announced it was shifting more funds around to prevent a delay of work on the Zika vaccine at the end of August. Meanwhile, it continued to press Congress to approve the White House’s request for $1.9 billion in new funds. 

Senate Democratic Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDemocrats say Biden must get more involved in budget fight Biden looks to climate to sell economic agenda Justice Breyer issues warning on remaking Supreme Court: 'What goes around comes around' MORE (Nev.) reacted to the news Friday by reiterating his call for Republicans to bring Congress back to Washington to pass funding. 
 
“The transmission of Zika in Miami Beach is the most alarming development yet in the rapidly growing threat of Zika in the United States," he said. "The House and Senate must return to Washington to provide the funding public health officials need to protect the American people."

Republicans, meanwhile, have called on Senate Democrats to drop their filibuster of a $1.1 billion bill that Democrats object to due to its limitation of funds from Planned Parenthood and its ObamaCare and Ebola cuts. 

There have been some concerns about the effects Zika could have on the large tourism industry in Miami. 

The virus, spread by mosquitoes, can cause severe birth defects. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday warned that pregnant women should avoid travel to the affected area in Miami Beach, the same guidance it has issued for the other affected area, in Miami. 
 
In a broader step, the CDC on Friday also said: "Pregnant women and their sexual partners who are concerned about potential Zika virus exposure may also consider postponing nonessential travel to all parts of Miami-Dade County."
 
The CDC also said that people who have travelled to the affected areas and have pregnant sex partners should be sure to use condoms.