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Zika in the US: Officials announce over a dozen new locally acquired cases of virus in Florida

By by Jillian MacMath, Staff Writer
August 07, 2016, 6:04:49 AM EDT

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) has identified 10 new locally-acquired cases of the Zika virus in Florida, Governor Rick Scott announced on Monday.

The new cases bring the total number of people who have acquired Zika locally to 15.

However, the DOH believes the transmission is occurring in only a small area of Miami-Dade County. According to a press release, this remains the only area of the state that the DOH has confirmed to have ongoing local transmissions of the virus.

One case came from outside of the Miami area, officials said on Tuesday.

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Six of the 10 people who tested positive for the virus were asymptomatic and discovered through door-to-door surveying. So far, the DOH has conducted testing for the Zika virus for more than 2,300 people statewide.

The local outbreak of the virus has raised concerns for tourism.

The CDC has issued a notice to women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant to avoid unnecessary travel to the impacted area that is just north of downtown Miami.

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The United Kingdom has also issued an advisory for South Florida, urging pregnant women to avoid all non-essential travel to the area.

Amid concerns, Scott has pointed toward the state's previous success in mitigating risk from mosquito-borne viruses.

“Florida has a proven track record of success when it comes to managing similar mosquito-borne viruses. We will continue to keep our residents and visitors safe utilizing constant surveillance and aggressive strategies, such as increased mosquito spraying, that have allowed our state to fight similar viruses,” Scott said.

“While I encourage all residents and visitors to continue to use precaution by draining standing water and wearing bug spray, Florida remains safe and open for business.”

The Zika virus has been found to cause serious birth defects including microcephaly, which results in babies born with abnormally small heads and incomplete brain development.

It is also linked to increased reports of Guillan-Barré syndrome, which can result in nerve cell damage, muscle weakness and paralysis.

Have questions, comments, or a story to share? Email Jillian MacMath at or follow her on Twitter @Jillian_MacMath. Follow AccuWeather @breakingweather, or on Facebook.

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