Local Zika cases on the rise in Florida

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Florida Department of Health Investigators said Wednesday that there are three new non-travel-related cases of the Zika virus in their state, bringing the total number of non-travel-related cases to 33.

One of the new cases is within the Wynwood area of Miami-Dade County, where officials have said they believe all local transmission is occurring. The other two are outside that area.

Health officials are investigating seven of the non-travel-related cases because they are not within the area of local transmission and do not appear to be linked to that area.

Florida health officials note that “one case does not mean active transmission is taking place.”

In an unprecedented move, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned pregnant women to steer clear of the Wynwood neighborhood this month, and a mosquito-control team began spraying a 10-square-mile area north of downtown Miami to combat the virus.

Last week, CDC spokeswoman Erin Sykes said, “If we see new Zika clusters that are linked to this cluster outside of the one-mile radius [of Wynwood] or people who became ill with links to this specific one-mile radius area after mid-August, then this would be a cause for additional investigation and action. For now, we expect to find infections that occurred before these mosquito control measures were implemented.”

On Monday, Texas health officials announced a confirmed case of the Zika virus among an individual who had traveled to the affected area in Miami.

The Zika virus has been linked to microcephaly, which causes unusually small heads and brain damage in children born to infected mothers. It is also linked to blindness, deafness, seizures and other congenital defects.

In adults, the virus is linked to a form of temporary paralysis called Guillain-Barré syndrome.