MIAMI (AP) — The Latest on the Zika virus in Florida (all times local):
Florida’s Department of Health has now ruled out sexual transmission as well as travel as the source of a Miami-area woman’s Zika infection.
Health officials are trying to determine whether the woman could be the first person infected with the Zika virus directly by a mosquito bite inside the continental United States.
Zika is usually spread by mosquitoes, but nearly all the Zika cases in the U.S. have been contracted in other countries or through sex with someone who traveled and was bitten elsewhere.
In an email Thursday to The Associated Press, health department spokeswoman Mara Gambineri said sexual transmission related to travel has now been ruled out.
Miami-Dade County has been sending mosquitoes trapped in the woman’s neighborhood to be tested at Florida Gulf Coast University since July 15. A spokeswoman for Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says none of the samples have tested positive for the Zika virus.
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.
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.
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.
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.