Mosquito-borne Zika may have already hit the US mainland

FLORIDA'S governor says the state likely has the first cases of Zika transmitted by mosquitoes on the US mainland.

"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," Rick Scott said at a Friday press conference.

While no mosquitoes in the state had tested positive for the virus, Mr Scott added, officials suspect the four cases on infection originated in a one-square-mile area north of downtown Miami. Three men and one woman were infected.

The Florida Department of Health reported that it is going door-to-door in the impacted area and testing residents. So far, the state has not found any Aedes species mosquitoes that carry the virus.

"Florida currently has the capacity to test 6,609 people for active Zika virus and 2,059 people for Zika antibodies," Mr Scott said. "If we need more test kits, we will immediately request them from the [Centers for Disease Control]."

The CDC has not issued a travel limit to the state of Florida.

Mr Scott allocated $26.2m (£19.8m) to relief and containment efforts, but expressed disappointment that the federal government has not yet cleared emergency funding.

"This is not just a Florida issue. It's a national issue. We just happen to be at the forefront," said Scott.

More than 1,650 cases of Zika have been reported in the US - mostly from people who traveled to Latin American and Caribbean countries where the spread of the virus has reached crisis levels.

The four infected in Florida mark the first cases of people who contracted the virus without leaving the continental US.  

Additional reporting by the Associated Press

Topics:  editors picks mosquito zika virus

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