For the first time, mosquitoes have tested positive for Zika virus in the continental United States.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced today that three mosquito samples from a small area in Miami Beach turned up positive for the virus.
The mosquitoes were trapped in an area where the Florida Department of Health has said that local transmission is occurring between mosquitoes and people.
In July, Florida became the first state in the country to announce that people were being infected with Zika by local mosquitoes. There have been dozens of such cases in the state, but until now, no infected mosquitoes had been found.
“This find is disappointing, but not surprising,” Adam H. Putnam, Florida commissioner of agriculture, said in a news release. “Florida is among the best in the nation when it comes to mosquito surveillance and control, and this detection enables us to continue to effectively target our resources.”
Thomas R. Frieden
CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, indicated previously that it would be hard to find infected mosquitoes even in places where local transmission was occurring.
Officials have ramped up trapping and spraying efforts in the areas north of downtown Miami and along a 1.5-square-mile stretch of Miami Beach where the mosquitoes are thought to be transmitting the virus.
The mosquito pools that tested positive came from the zone in Miami Beach that is currently being treated. They are the first positive results among the more than 2,470 mosquito samples that have been tested so far, which consisted of more than 40,000 mosquitoes.
Disclosure: Putnam works for the state of Florida.