- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 11, 2016

Florida officials have been able to narrow the area of Miami where the Zika virus appears to be spreading by mosquito bite, Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday, even as the tally of infected people climbed to 25.

Officials were able to rule out four blocks of a square-mile area north of downtown that federal and state officials have pinpointed as the sole area of local transmission.

That’s on top of 10 blocks of the Wynwood neighborhood officials cleared last week, though cases totals have continued to climb since officials last month announced the first cases of Zika’s spread by mosquitoes in the continental U.S.

“This means the area where we believe active transmissions are occurring in the state is significantly reducing,” Mr. Scott said. “Although three additional individuals in Wynwood have been identified with the Zika virus today, we are confident that our mosquito education, prevention and control efforts are working and hopeful that the impacted area will continue to be reduced as the [health department’s] investigation continues.”

Before the Miami outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had been able to link more than 1,650 Zika cases in the states and District of Columbia to people who had returned from countries where the virus is circulating, plus one case of accidental laboratory infection, although mosquitoes have infected more than 5,000 on Puerto Rico.

Zika has been linked to serious birth defects in babies born to infected mothers, particularly in hard-hit Brazil.

In an unprecedented move, the CDC recommended that pregnant women avoid traveling to the square-mile area of the U.S. mainland where Zika is spreading.

Miami-Dade County officials have begun aerial spraying for Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry the virus, hoping to avoid further transmission in the area.

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