The Latest: Florida probing 2nd possibly local Zika case

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Posted: Jul 21, 2016 6:13 PM
The Latest: Florida probing 2nd possibly local Zika case

MIAMI (AP) — The Latest on the Zika virus in Florida (all times local):

6:10 p.m.

The Florida Health Department says it's now investigating a second possible non-travel related case of Zika infection in South Florida.

The case is in Broward County, which neighbors Miami-Dade, where the first such investigation continues.

The department says in a news release that it is working with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and that the state government has asked that the CDC to send an epidemiologist to Florida to help with the investigation.

Health authorities are testing mosquitoes and have not yet confirmed that anyone has been infected by a bite in the mainland United States.

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5:15 p.m.

A Florida Health department spokeswoman now says it's premature to conclude whether or not the Zika infection of a Miami-area woman is related to sex or travel.

Spokewoman Mara Gambineri says her emailed statement earlier Thursday was incorrect. She says she was wrong and that she should have written that "''sexual transmission related to travel has not been ruled out."

She says not all the blood and urine tests from the people around the infected patient have come back yet, and they can't definitively say that nobody involved traveled outside the United States recently.

Mosquitoes tested as part of this investigation have so far tested negative for Zika, as of results that came back Thursday.

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This item has been corrected; The health spokeswoman now says her earlier statement was incorrect, and that she should have written that "sexual transmission related to travel has not been ruled out."

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4:20 p.m.

The largest blood bank in central Florida is going to start screening for the Zika virus.

OneBlood said Thursday that it will start screening for the mosquito-borne virus Aug. 1.

Dr. Rita Reik, OneBlood's chief medical officer, says in a statement that only a portion of collections will be screened.

Hospitals and other facilities that want Zika-screened blood will have to make a request.

Reik says that will allow them to have screened-blood for high-risk patients such as pregnant women.

OneBlood's announcement comes as health officials are trying to determine whether a Miami-area woman is the first person directly infected by a mosquito on the U.S. mainland.

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3:50 p.m.

U.S. health officials say the number of babies born in the U.S. with Zika-related defects has risen to 12, up from nine the week before.

A report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the overall number of infected people in the U.S. also is rising, to more than 1,400 cases reported in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, including 400 pregnant women.

None of the cases in this latest report are attributed to mosquito bites inside the continental United States.

Fifteen people became infected through sex with people who contracted Zika while traveling abroad. The rest traveled themselves and were likely bitten in countries with Zika outbreaks.

The numbers rose dramatically in Puerto Rico, where roughly 3,800 cases have been reported. The CDC says almost all of those cases are attributed to mosquito bites on the island.

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1 p.m.

Health officials waited Thursday to see if mosquitoes collected near Miami test positive for the Zika virus. That could help determine whether a local woman is the first person infected directly by a mosquito bite on the U.S. mainland.

Fogging trucks drove through the patient's neighborhood Thursday morning. Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control Operations Manager Chalmers Vasquez said inspectors are trying to get into every backyard to spray and eliminate breeding sites.

Health officials said lab tests confirmed the patient's infection, and there's no apparent connection to travel outside the country.

Miami-Dade County has the most confirmed Zika infections in Florida, but all have involved international travel. Vasquez says no mosquitoes collected in the county so far have tested positive for Zika.

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3:15 a.m.

Florida health officials have trapped mosquitoes in an area of Miami-Dade County and are testing them for Zika to confirm whether a woman with the virus could be the first person infected directly by a mosquito bite in the continental United States.

Florida's Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not immediately respond to questions about their investigation, but health officials said the case had no apparent connection to travel outside the country.

The patient is a woman who lives in Miami-Dade County. That's according to a health official familiar with the case who wasn't authorized to reveal details beyond the statements of the agencies involved, and thus spoke on condition of anonymity.