BREVARD COUNTY, Florida – The number of cases of the Zika virus that have been confirmed on Florida’s Space Coast increased from 8 to 10 on Friday. All Zika cases in Brevard County, Florida have been travel-related and not locally acquired.
“Scientists agree that no mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus flew across the Gulf of Mexico. Rather, Florida-born mosquitoes bit humans who acquired Zika through travel and brought the virus with them to south Florida,” U.S. Representative Bill Posey wrote in a Zika update to his constituents.
“These mosquitoes became carriers of the disease and infected other Floridians that they bit. It’s critical that we are taking appropriate steps to minimize the opportunity for situations like the one in South Florida to arise. An important part of that effort is raising awareness about travel risks and ensuring our travel warnings are in line with those risks. That is why in late June, I joined with Members of the House Science Committee in urging the Administration to raise travel warnings for Zika-affected countries. We specifically requested that more explicit Level Three travel advisories, which discourage “all non-essential travel”, be placed on certain countries with high Zika infection rates. The [Obama] Administration has yet to take these common sense steps warning Americans about traveling abroad.”
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, babies born with the Zika virus transmitted from their mothers who contracted the disease while pregnant have developed microcephaly – a disease which causes the babies’ brains and heads to shrink. Women who are pregnant or could become pregnant should avoid travel to Zika-affected areas, including Florida.
So far, 55 cases in Florida involve pregnant women. The Florida Department of Health announced in June that there had been the first confirmed case of microcephaly in a baby born in Florida.