Florida officials: Zika spread by mosquitoes in South Beach

FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2016, file photo, an Aedes aegypti mosquito is photographed through a microscope at the Fiocruz institute in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil. A New Jersey doctor said a woman from Honduras with the Zika virus gave birth to a baby on May 31, 2016, that appears to be affected by the disease, which is spread primarily through mosquito bites and can also be transmitted through sex. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)


MIAMI (AP) — South Beach has been identified as second site of Zika transmission by mosquitoes on the U.S. mainland, Florida officials said Friday.

But Gov. Rick Scott said the state does not plan to advise people to stay away from the beaches, nightclubs and pedestrian thoroughfares that form the heart of South Florida’s travel industry.

Five cases of Zika have been connected to Miami Beach, bringing the state’s caseload to 36 infections not related to travel outside the U.S., Scott said.

“We believe these cases were from mosquitoes,” said Florida Department of Health spokeswoman Mara Gambineri in an email to The Associated Press.

Two patients are Miami-Dade County residents, and three are tourists, including one man and two women, Scott said. The tourists are residents of New York, Texas and Taiwan.

“We believe we have a new area where local transmissions are occurring in Miami Beach,” Scott said. He described the area on the narrow island city as just under 1.5 miles between 8th and 28th streets.

Another infection zone was previously identified across a roughly 1-square-mile area encompassing Miami’s Wynwood arts district. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised pregnant women to avoid the entire neighborhood.

CDC officials did not immediately respond Friday to questions about whether their travel advisory, the agency’s first for pregnant women within the continental U.S., would be expanded.

Additional infections outside Wynwood and Miami Beach also are being investigated. Health officials have said one case of Zika does not determine whether an area is declared a site of active transmission.

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