Health officials in Florida are investigating what could be the first case of mosquito-borne Zika transmission in the continental United States.
The state health department put out a brief statement Tuesday evening saying they were “conducting an investigation into a possible non-travel related case of Zika virus in Miami-Dade County.” The county already had 88 travel-related cases of Zika — the most in the state.
The virus can be transmitted through sex, as well as by mosquitoes, but the release did not mention that as a possible mode of transmission. The health department did not immediately respond to questions.
Zika, which is primarily spread by Aedes mosquitoes, has swept through much of the Americas since cases first emerged in Brazil last year. The virus typically causes no symptoms or only a mild illness. But it can cause serious birth defects in fetuses when it infects pregnant women, including a condition called microcephaly in which the brain is underdeveloped and head is abnormally small.
There have been more than 1,300 Zika cases in the United States. Almost all of the patients were infected while traveling in a Zika-infected area. A handful of cases were the result of sexual transmission.