Washington: Health officials in Florida said on Friday there is a "high likelihood" that the state has the first cases of local Zika virus transmission by mosquitoes in the continental United States.
The Florida Department of Health (DOH) said in a statement that it has gathered "enough information" in its investigation into the four possible non-travel related Zika cases in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to "conclude that a high likelihood exists that four cases are the result of local transmission".
"At this time, the department believes that active transmissions of the Zika virus are occurring in one small area in Miami-Dade county, just north of downtown," Xinhua news agency quoted it as saying.
Florida Governor Rick Scott identified one of the four patients as a woman while the other three were men, and said they are all active Zika cases and have not exhibited symptoms to be admitted to the hospital.
"While no mosquitoes have tested positive for the Zika virus, DOH is aggressively testing people in this area to ensure there are no other cases," Scott said in a statement.
"Now that Florida has become the first state to have a local transmission, likely through a mosquito, we will continue to put every resource available to fighting the spread of Zika in our state," Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying.
More than 1,600 Zika cases have been reported on the US mainland, but previously all cases have been linked to travel to affected areas or sexual contact with an infected person.