ORLANDO (CBSMiami) – Four people who have non-travel related Zika virus got it in South Florida, Florida Governor Rick Scott announced Friday.
“This morning we learned that four people in our state likely have the Zika virus as a result of a mosquito bite. This means Florida has become the first state in our nation to have local transmission of the Zika virus,” said Scott.
All four of the people who have the locally acquired virus live in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.
According to the Florida Department of Health, local transmissions of the virus occurred and could still be occurring in Miami-Dade County in the area of Wynwood – known for its restaurants, shopping, and art.
“NW 5th Avenue in the West, US-1 to the East, NW NE 38th Street to the North and NW NE 20th Street to the South,” said Surgeon General Dr. Celeste Philip talking about the 1 square mile area.
But Philip added, “We believe that at this time the likelihood of ongoing transmission is low.”
Of the four cases, one of them involves a woman and three others involve men.
Following the reports of the possibility they had acquired the virus locally, health officials had been testing the mosquito population in the area.
“While no mosquito traps have tested positive for the Zika virus, the department of health is aggressively testing people in the affected area to ensure there are no other cases of this virus,” said Scott. “As we’ve tested the mosquitoes, we have not found any mosquitoes that we’ve tested through the traps that have the Zika virus.”
For those who live in the impacted area and want to be tested, you can contact the county health department. Florida currently can test 6,609 people for the active Zika virus and 2,059 people for Zika antibodies. So far, health officials have tested 2,329 people across the state.
“If we need more test kits, we will immediately request them from the CDC,” said Scott.
To prevent the spread, Gov. Scott said they will step up testing, spraying and education on prevention.
Some of the people bar and gallery hopping in Wynwood Friday night had no idea of the earlier announcement.
“My first reaction was like I really just want to go home,” said Ehi Aguevor, “I don’t want to be in this area anymore.”
“It’s scary for sure,” says Jackie Popovic.
But she says, “I won’t allow it to stop me from doing what I’m going to be doing. I’m going to continue to be outside.”
Popovic sells jewelry from an outdoor shopping area. She relies on foot traffic for business.
“I think it definitely will stop a few people from coming outside but I think the majority will continue,” she says.
Those CB4’s Tiani Jones talked to said the biggest fear is how little is known about the virus.
Sinead Wilson says, “All I know is it affects pregnant women, like their babies will come out deformed, but that’s all we know so far. I’m taking parasitology right now, and I know that later on we can find out it has other effects.”
This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated recommendations on how to prevent the spread of the virus that has been linked to birth defects. Health experts say it can spread through sexual contact or infected mosquitoes.
For expecting mothers, Gov. Scott has a message: “I urge you to contact your OBGYN for guidance. If you live in Miami-Dade or Broward County, you can get your Zika prevention kit by contacting your OBGYN.”
As for tourism in South Florida, it was not lost on Scott.
“We are a tourism state. We continue to welcome tourists here. We will continue to tell people to stay prepared and with mosquito spray,” said Scott.
At last check, other parts of Florida did not have Zika cases that had been locally acquired.