iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Public health officials in Florida have identified a new area in Miami-Dade County where the Zika virus is being spread by mosquitoes, according to a report by the Florida Department of Health.
In total, five people — three people living in the area and two who either visited or worked in the area — are believed to have been infected from mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus. Officials from the Florida Department of Health reported that the affected area is approximately 1 square mile.
The Zika outbreak has been ongoing in certain regions of the greater Miami area since July. This is the third area to have had local Zika transmission via mosquitoes. Department investigators are now going door-to-door in the affected areas to investigate if there are additional unreported Zika cases. Mosquito control measures are also taking place in order to reduce the population of the Aedes aeygpti mosquito, the species that spreads the Zika virus.
With Hurricane Matthew blowing through much of the state last week, some health experts have expressed concerned that the storm could lead to an increase in the mosquito population that spreads the Zika virus. It’s not clear if the hurricane had any impact on Zika infections, but Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said it was likely that public health officials are concerned about the storm’s effect on Zika infections.
“The hurricane leaving all that standing water and also blowing some mosquitoes around … has clearly created an environment of increased concern in Miami-Dade County,” Schaffner said. “Most of us are watching Zika events in Miami-Dade County … with great interest.”
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