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CDC Director: There Are Most Likely Non-Travel Related Zika Cases Already In Fla.

James Gathany
CDC/MGN Online

The head of the Centers for Disease Control says there already could be Floridians with the Zika virus who have never traveled abroad.

The more than 180 confirmed Zika cases in Florida are travel-related and at least one case was sexually transmitted. But, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden says there could be even more people with the disease that were bitten by a mosquito in Florida—without traveling out of state. He told that to Republican Senator Marco Rubio, at a recent meeting of Florida’s Congressional Delegation in Washington D.C.

“Let’s suppose I’ve never traveled abroad, I haven’t been anywhere else, didn’t go to Puerto Rico even, and I have Zika,” said Rubio, at the time. “Unless you are symptomatic, or if you’re symptomatic but you’re not pregnant, you may have been infected by a mosquito. We may already have a mosquito infection in Florida, maybe multiple, we just wouldn’t know until such time as someone ultimately presents the symptoms, is tested and we have run the travel records, is that correct?”

“Correct,” replied Frieden. “In fact, we’ve already had a dengue case currently this year in Florida.”

The Aedes aegypti mosquito—which can carry other diseases other than Zika, like dengue—is also native to Florida. Officials fear as Summer continues, there will be a huge increase in mosquito activity.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.