Florida: 5 new Zika cases including 1 in the Tampa Bay area

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Florida’s governor says that state has confirmed five new non-travel-related cases of Zika, including one in the Tampa Bay area, though officials aren’t so far declaring that a zone of active local transmission.

Gov. Rick Scott said at a Zika roundtable in the Tampa area’s Pinellas County that four new cases were connected to mosquitoes in Miami’s Wynwood arts district. He says the fifth was diagnosed in a Pinellas County resident who hasn’t traveled internationally. Last week health officials announced five cases of Zika were linked to mosquitoes in Miami Beach.

Officials are looking into the possibility that the Pinellas County resident was infected with the virus in a neighboring county.

Zika can cause severe brain-related birth defects, including a dangerously small head, if women are infected during pregnancy.

Gov. Scott said in a press release today, “as we’ve seen in Wynwood, our aggressive mosquito control and public education efforts are working which is why DOH was able to clear a significant area in Wynwood today, bringing the total cleared area to 76 blocks. This means that we have now cleared half of the area in Wynwood where we believe ongoing active transmission of Zika is occurring. This is great news and we hope to continue reducing this area.”

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