Florida declares new area of Zika transmission in Miami

People enjoy themselves along Lincoln Road, an open air shopping space, on the day officials released the locations of the sites where Zika virus was found in trapped mosquitoes on Sept 28, 2016 in Miami Beach, Florida. PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - Florida officials on Thursday (Oct 13) announced a new area of Zika transmission in the Miami and has called on federal government for funding to help fight the outbreak.

Florida Governor Rick Scott said state health officials have confirmed that local transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus is occurring in a new small area in Miami-Dade County, where the state believes five individuals have been infected by the virus.

The governor said the state's health department believes Zika transmission is only occurring in Miami-Beach and in the new area, which covers about 1 square mile (2.6 square km).

Zika is primarily a concern for pregnant women and their partners because the virus has been liked with a series of birth defects including microcephaly, marked by small head size and underdeveloped brains that can lead to severe developmental problems in babies.

Last month, US health officials urged pregnant women to consider putting off all nonessential travel to Miami due to the Zika virus even as the state lifted a travel warning for the Wynwood, the Miami neighborhood which was the first site of local Zika transmission in the continental United States.

Florida has reported a total of 164 cases of Zika caused by local mosquito transmission, including 19 people who were infected in the state but live elsewhere. There are also five cases in which it was not clear whether transmission occurred in Florida or elsewhere.

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