At least three mosquitoes in Miami Beach carried Zika, state tests show

Brazil Zika War on Mosquito

At least three mosquitoes captured in Miami Beach have tested positive for the Zika virus, although thousands of other insects captured throughout the state did not carry the disease, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said Thursday.

“This find is disappointing but not surprising,” Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said in a statement.

The Florida Department of Health counted 616 Zika infections in the state as of Wednesday, including 569 cases of Zika thought to be contracted by people traveling outside the state and 47 “non-travel” cases. Because most people infected with Zika show no symptoms, there could be far more Floridians carrying the virus.

The state released the results of the mosquito tests amid an intensifying public health scare. Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause severe brain defects in unborn children.

As for the Miami Beach mosquitoes, it’s unclear exactly how many of them carried Zika, state officials said. To test for the virus, workers at a state lab in Kissimmee start with a few dozen mosquitoes trapped from one area, then grind the insects and test the entire batch.

The three positive results from Miami Beach included groups of 39, 25 and 40 mosquitoes. Researchers don’t know if just one or all of the mosquitoes from each sample carried the Zika virus.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said it has tested more than 2,470 mosquito samples, consisting of more than 40,000 individual insects from 34 counties, since May. The three groups from Miami Beach are the first to test positive.

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