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1st local Zika transmissions confirmed in Florida - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

1st local Zika transmissions confirmed in Florida

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WASHINGTON -

Health investigators in South Florida are going from house to house looking for places where mosquitoes can breed, stepping up efforts to prevent the Zika virus from spreading.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott confirmed the first suspected cases of locally transmitted Zika in the U.S. One woman and three men likely got the virus from a mosquito bite. Health officials believe the infections occurred in a small area just north of downtown Miami.

"While no traps tested positive for the virus, the DOH is aggressively testing people in areas to make sure there are no other cases of this virus," said Scott, R-Florida.

President Barack Obama has been briefed on the Florida cases. White House officials are criticizing Congress for leaving for recess before striking a Zika funding deal.

"We really do need the money," said Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health.

Fauci says while he's almost certain the U.S. will see more cases, he doesn't expect a large Zika outbreak like in Brazil or Puerto Rico.

"We must assume that could happen and that is the reason why you get very aggressive in trying to prevent it," Fauci said.

Pregnant women are at greatest risk because the virus can cause devastating birth defects.

To prevent mosquito bites, Florida residents are being urged to wear long sleeves and repellent, and to drain standing water around their homes.

Florida's main supplier of blood said it has started testing blood donations after the Food and Drug Administration told centers in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to stop collecting donations until they can screen each unit of blood for Zika.

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