State Capital Briefs (Evening Edition): Friday, August 26
The News Service of Florida
Fifteen new cases of the mosquito-borne Zika virus were reported Friday in Florida, all tied to people who brought the disease into the state after getting infected elsewhere. The state Department of Health announced that the new travel-related cases included five pregnant women. The agency didn't report where the pregnant women reside or where they had traveled. The virus is particularly dangerous to pregnant women because it can cause severe birth defects. In addition to the new cases involving pregnant women, three travel-related cases were reported in Broward County, three were in Pinellas County, and single cases were reported in Collier, Hillsborough, Orange and Sarasota counties. No new cases involving local transmission of the disease through mosquito bites were reported Friday. However, the state agency lowered its overall number of non-travel related cases from 43 to 42. The agency said one person previously classified as having acquired the virus locally had traveled to an area outside the U.S. with widespread Zika transmission. Overall, the state has recorded 545 travel-related infections and 75 infections involving pregnant women. Much of the state's focus on local transmissions has been on Miami's Wynwood area and on an area in Miami Beach. However, this week cases of locally transmitted Zika were reported in Pinellas and Palm Beach counties. On Friday, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration recommended that all U.S. blood donations should be screened for Zika.