A traveling Texan visiting Miami has become ill with the Zika virus upon returning home to El Paso County, marking the first known case of travel-related transmission within the United States.
Texas has identified 108 other residents with Zika, but all those cases are linked to travel to other countries where the virus is spreading locally, Texas Department of State Health Services said in a release on Monday.
Mosquitoes in Florida have picked up the virus from biting people with the disease — it's the only state in which local transmission has been spotted so far. Florida Department of Health officials say that they have isolated the area of "active transmission" to less than a single square block in Miami-Dade County.
The Florida DOH reported on Monday that 30 people have picked up the disease after visiting that one neighborhood.
It seems the Texan from El Paso is the 31st. The individual is not being quarantined, and the state is watching for local transmission by monitoring the disease in people, rather than testing mosquitoes en masse, a spokesperson told BuzzFeed News by email.
Texas health officials are bracing for local mosquitoes to be infected at some point, but are not expecting an outbreak that is geographically widespread.
“It’s the perfect mix – local transmission in Florida, travel to Brazil, and we’re at the height of mosquito season in Texas,” John Hellerstedt, Texas Department of State Health Services commissioner said in a release earlier this month.
Nidhi Subbaraman is a Science Reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Nidhi Subbaraman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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