Florida Declares New Zika Transmission Zone In Miami After Five Local Cases

The Zika virus was first detected in Brazil last year and has since spread across the Americas

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FILE - A Miami-Dade mosquito control inspector sprays a chemical mist into a storm drain in Miami Beach, Florida, Aug. 23, 2016. (VOA)

Miami, October 17, 2016: Florida officials have identified a small neighborhood in Miami that contains mosquitoes that have spread the Zika virus to humans.

The area spans about 2.6 square kilometers in the northwestern part of the city.

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday that two women and three men have been infected by the virus in the neighborhood.

Zika infections have been reported in more than 1,020 people in Florida. Most caught it while traveling outside the U.S., but 155 cases are not travel related.

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This summer, Florida became the first state in the continental United States to report the local spread of Zika when a cluster of cases was discovered in the arts district of Wynwood, north of downtown.

That area has since been declared clear of any mosquitoes that might be spreading Zika, and health authorities have credited aerial insecticide spraying for eliminating the infected mosquitoes.

Scott said the announcement of the new area of transmission underscores the “urgent need” for federal funding to fight the virus, adding that the state still has not received any of the funding that was approved by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama two weeks ago.

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The Zika virus was first detected in Brazil last year and has since spread across the Americas. It is particularly dangerous to pregnant women because it can cause birth defects such as microcephaly, in which babies are born with unusually small heads and deformed brains.(VOA)

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