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US reports local Zika cases
July 29, 2016, 6:17 pm

Brazilian scientists continue to find other possible Zika links to brain diseases [Xinhua]

Brazilian scientists continue to find other possible Zika links to brain diseases [Xinhua]

Health officials in Florida say they have discovered at least four cases where people contracted the Zika virus directly from mosquito bites.

The cases, all reported in the Miami-Dade county, mark the first time the authorities have reported direct mosquito to human transmission in the continental United States.

They have over the course of the past year warned that the Zika mosquito is prevalent in over 30 states in the US.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US, the Zika disease is a virus spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which thrives in hot and humid climates.

Florida is considered to be hot and humid, particularly during summer months. The Miam-Dade county has been on watch for months as health officials prepare for the possibility of reported cases.

They have also been cautious because the city of Miami is considered a major destination and transit point for people traveling from Latin America, where the virus has been spreading since last summer.

The Zika virus was first reported in a monkey living in the Zika Forest in Uganda in 1947, and spread to humans in Africa and Asia within a few years.

The Aedes mosquito bites an infected person and then carries the virus to another person it bites. The virus is transmitted from a mother to a child during pregnancy or birth.

But since last summer, when the hardest hit country Brazil first reported a Zika outbreak, scientists have discovered that the virus can be also sexually transmitted.

To date, the US has reported more than 1,600 cases of the Zika virus, most of which have been associated with travel to areas hit by the disease; health officials with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say the number of Zika cases in Puerto Rico is approaching 5,000.

Meanwhile, Public Health England on Friday said that to date 53 people had been identified with the Zika virus but that none had acquired the disease in the UK. The Aedes mosquito is not known to survive in UK climates.

They said all 53 people had been on travel and returned from countries where the disease and the mosquito is common.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies