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Health officials in Florida announced today (July 29) four cases of Zika infection that were likely acquired through the bite of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes—the first report of local, mosquito-borne transmission of the virus in the continental U.S., STAT Newsreported. Authorities believe the individuals—three men and one woman—became infected in early July in a several-block region north of downtown Miami, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is working with Florida health officials to investigate these cases.

 

“Zika is now here,” CDC Director Tom Frieden told reporters today during a news briefing. “It’s particularly important for pregnant women to avoid mosquito bites in all areas where A. aegypti is present,” he added. This includes wearing long sleeves, applying insect repellent, and staying indoors in screened-in or air-conditioned areas whenever possible.

 

Florida health officials have already begun mosquito eradication efforts in the area, and are investigating whether other people or mosquitoes are infected. But finding infected insects isn’t easy—“it’s like finding a needle in a haystack,” Frieden noted.

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The Scientist

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