Health officials in Florida said Tuesday that they are investigating the first possible non-travel Zika transmission.
The Florida Department of Health said the case was reported in Miami-Dade County and that it was working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on an epidemiological study, according to Reuters.
The statement didnt specify whether the case was believed to have been transmitted by mosquito bite, sexual contact or some other means. Officials urged Florida residents to take the proper precautions about protecting themselves from mosquitos that may have the virus.
“Zika prevention kits and repellant will be available for pickup … and distributed in the area under investigation,” health officials said. “Mosquito control has already conducted reduction and prevention activities in the area of investigation.”
Signs of Zika have been found in blood, urine, semen and saliva. There’s no evidence yet that the Zika infection in this case is an unusual mutation, but researchers are exploring that possibility through genomic analysis.
The virus causes only a mild illness in most people. But during recent outbreaks in Latin America, scientists discovered that infection during pregnancy has led to severe brain-related birth defects.
No cases of mosquito-spread Zika have been reported in the continental United States, according to the CDC. Health experts think mosquito transmission probably will occur in the U.S., but the expectation is that it will be in low-elevation, sweltering places where the insect has been a steady problem such as southern Florida or southern Texas.
More than 1,300 Zika illnesses have been reported in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, including eight in Utah, according to health officials. Almost all were people who had traveled to Zika outbreak countries and caught the virus there.
Fourteen were people who had not traveled to Zika zones but had sex with someone who had.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.