-- A new Zika infection case has been identified in Palm Beach County, Florida, and officials said they believe it is related to the ongoing local Zika outbreak in northern Miami.
Investigators are looking into the new case and going door to door to take samples and look for signs of a growing outbreak, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement today.
However, health officials clarified that the infected person in Palm Beach County had recently been to Miami-Dade County, where more than a dozen people in a 1-square-mile area in northern Miami have been identified as having been infected with the Zika virus via mosquitoes locally. The outbreak of locally acquired Zika was first identified last month. The outbreak is the first time the virus has been spread via infected mosquitoes in the continental U.S.
Aerial pesticide spraying in northern Miami began last week to reduce the population of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is the species responsible for spreading the virus. The outbreak of locally transmitted Zika in southern Florida has led to a total of 17 cases being identified, including the most recent case in Palm Beach County. Florida Department of Health officials have been going door to door to look for any other people who might have been infected, officials said.
Scott said today he was taking additional steps to teach Florida students about Zika prevention.
"While this investigation is ongoing, DOH still believes active transmissions are only taking place within the identified area that is less than one-square mile in Miami-Dade County," Scott said in his statement. "With the announcement of this new case, and the upcoming new school year, I have directed DOH and DOE to closely work together to ensure students, parents, educators and district leaders have all the resources and guidance they need to combat the Zika virus."
Scott said the Florida Departments of Health and Education along with the Florida Board of Governors are now distributing Zika teacher tool kits as well as other educational materials.