First Sexually Transmitted Case Of Zika Found In Florida

Mar 10, 2016

Florida has its first confirmed case of sexually-transmitted Zika virus.

Florida added two more cases of Zika Wednesday in Polk County. One was caught by a person who was traveling in Puerto Rico, but the other person caught the virus by sexual transmission. Because of patient confidentiality, officials can’t say if the two are related.

“The Declaration of Public Health Emergency has been expanded to include Polk County,” the Florida Department of Health wrote in a press release. “Of the cases confirmed in Florida, three cases are still exhibiting symptoms. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms associated with the Zika virus last between seven to 10 days.”

The World Health Organization has said sexual transmission of Zika is more common than originally thought. But officials say mosquitoes are still the main way people are being infected with Zika.

So far in Florida’s 52 cases, none were caught locally by mosquitoes. But officials are bracing for some local transmission as the state warms and the Yellow Fever mosquitoes breed.

Zika has been linked to severe birth defects and a rare form of paralysis. Four pregnant women in Florida have caught Zika while traveling.

See below for a breakdown of where Zika has bee found in Florida:

County                 Number of Cases (all travel related)
Alachua                      1
Brevard                      1
Broward                     7
Hillsborough             3
Lee                               3
Miami-Dade              24
Orange                        3
Osceola                       1
Polk                             2
Santa Rosa                 1
Seminole                    1
St. Johns                    1
Pregnant women*    4
Total                           52

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Reporter Abe Aboraya is part of WMFE in Orlando. WMFE is a partner with Health News Florida, which receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.