Florida officials investigating 2 possible non-travel-related Zika cases

Florida officials investigating 2 possible non-travel-related Zika cases

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Katherine Johnson doesn't leave home without her mosquito repellant. She's 15 weeks pregnant and concerned about Zika.

"Any time we're going outside or going to be outside for a while then I bring it with us," said Johnson, of New Orleans.

The State Health Department says so far there have been nine cases in Louisiana, and, all of them involve patients who traveled to an area with a Zika outbreak. There have been no confirmed cases of someone contracting the virus locally.

But health officials in Florida are now looking into whether they may have the country's first infections that were caught in the U.S. The Florida Health Department announced this week that they're investigating two possible non-travel related cases in both Miami-Dade and Broward County.

"As far as I knew, the only, you know, cases in the states were from, you know, endemic areas. So, it's very scary, especially living in New Orleans," said Johnson.

Dr. Dawn Wesson is an Associate Professor of Tropical Medicine at Tulane University. She says while it hasn't been confirmed if those Florida cases were locally acquired, she wouldn't be surprised if they were. But she says the risk here is still relatively low.

"The potential is much lower here. It doesn't mean it's non-existent. We certainly have to be careful and watch out for it, but, as far as we can tell it's much lower here given the number of people that have come in from other places where they picked up Zika and came back home," said Wesson.

The CDC will award Louisiana $2.4 million in funding to help fight Zika. We have both species of mosquitoes that spread the disease. Wesson and her team at Tulane are currently studying how good our mosquitoes are at transmitting the virus. We'll let you what they find out.

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