Reports from Florida are suggesting that local mosquitoes may have transmitted the Zika virus to two people. This is a new development that, if confirmed, validates the CDC’s prediction that local cases will be seen in warm weather states this summer.
As of July 20th, 46 states have reported more than 1400 cases of Zika infection, until now all travel-related. In the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, however, there are almost 4000 cases, almost all locally-transmitted.
Although Zika poses the most risk to pregnant women and their fetuses, the virus continues to defy expectation as new and unusual cases mount. The viral disease, transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, can attack brain and other nerve cells in fetuses, leading to microcephaly and other abnormalities in growth and development. Zika has also been associated with nerve disorders in humans, including the paralysis-inducing Guillain-Barre Syndrome.