[File Photo: sina.com]
Florida authorities on Friday reported what is believed to be the first evidence of local Zika transmission in the continental United States, concluding that mosquitoes likely infected four people with the virus that can cause rare but serious birth defects.
Florida governor Rick Scott said the state believed active transmission of the virus was occurring within an area of the city 2.6 square kms in size. Testing showed that one woman and three men had been infected.
Scott also says Florida will spare no expense in fighting the spread of Zika.
"Now that Florida has become the first state to have a local transmission likely through a mosquito. We will continue to put every resource available to fight in the spread of Zika in our state. It's become clear, if it becomes clear more research resources are needed we will not hesitate. Following today's news I'm directing the Department Health to immediately begin contracting with commercial pest control companies to increase spraying a mosquito abatement efforts in the impacted area."
Zika's greatest risk is believed to be posed by infection in pregnant women, given its ability to cause microcephaly in babies, a condition defined by small head size that can lead to developmental problems.
The current outbreak was first detected in Brazil last year and has since spread rapidly through the Americas.
The local health department is searching for other potential infections, with more than 2,300 people tested so far in the state, is ramping up mosquito control programs and is distributing Zika protection kits to pregnant women at their doctors' offices.