Two new Zika infections were confirmed in Miami-Dade and Broward counties on Monday, raising the statewide total to 50 people who have contracted the virus — all of them while traveling outside the continental United States, Florida health officials reported.
The number of confirmed Zika infections among Florida pregnant women, considered to be at greatest risk of the virus, remains at four. Of the cases confirmed in Florida, four people are still exhibiting symptoms.
Florida began reporting Zika infections on Feb. 9, with 16 confirmed cases statewide. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that between Jan. 1 and March 2 there were 153 reported cases of Zika virus in the continental United States, all of them acquired by travelers outside the country.
Pregnant women are considered to be at greatest risk from the virus because of a strongly suspected link between an outbreak of Zika in Brazil and a concurrent spike in microcephaly.
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On March 4, a team of researchers led by a Florida State University scientist announced that they may have found “an entry point” for establishing a causal link between the Zika virus and microcephaly, a birth defect in which a baby is born with an abnormally small head and an underdeveloped brain.
There is no vaccine for Zika virus, which generally causes a rash, fever and joint pain that can last from one week to 10 days, according to the CDC. The virus is primarily transmitted by mosquito bites, but the CDC said infections have also been reported through blood transfusions and by men to their sexual partners.
ZIKA CASES AS OF MARCH 7 (ALL ACQUIRED OUTSIDE FLORIDA)
|County||Number of Cases|
|Cases involving pregnant women*||4|
*Counties of pregnant women will not be shared.
Source: Florida Department of Health