- The Washington Times - Friday, December 2, 2016

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Friday said the Zika virus is no longer spreading by mosquito bite in the Little River section of Miami, leaving a 1.5-square mile stretch of Miami Beach as the only area of local transmission in the state.

Mr. Scott, a Republican, cleared a separate section of Miami Beach last month, signaling a scale-down of the problem in Florida, although Texas this week reported its first-ever case through bug bite.

The governor urged local residents to keep up their guard against the disease, which is tied to grave birth defects.

“It is crucial that everyone remains vigilant and continues to do their part to wear bug spray and dump standing water so we can keep these areas clear, especially for pregnant women and their developing babies,” he said.

Mr. Scott also urged the Obama administration to dole out Florida’s share of the $1.1 billion that Congress approved in September to combat the disease, after the state expended more than $60 million of its own funds.

“It has been more than two months since over one billion dollars in Zika funding was signed by President Obama, and the federal government has still only committed $7 million to help reimburse Florida’s costs of fighting this virus,” he said. “With news this week that Texas now has a known case of locally transmitted Zika, the federal government needs to make sure we get more funding to respond to Zika.”

Earlier this week, Texas health officials said a woman in Brownsville contracted Zika without traveling to an area with known transmission. It was the first locally acquired case reported on the U.S. mainland outside of Florida.

Officials noted that people in the Rio Grande Valley frequently cross the border with Mexico, where Zika is spreading on its own, and it “was only a matter of time before we saw a Zika case spread by a mosquito in Texas.”

Zika largely remains a travel-associated disease in the states, with more than 4,300 people reporting cases they picked up abroad before returning to the U.S. mainland.

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