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Florida’s Zika outbreak is spreading, with new case in St. Petersburg area

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Florida state officials have reported five new cases of Zika, four more in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami where the first locally transmitted cases in the country were reported and the fifth on the other side of the state in Pinellas County.

It’s that last case that’s the most worrisome because it might signal that mosquitoes infected with the virus are spreading. But it’s too soon to know, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott, R, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have yet to issue a travel advisory for that area indicating there is active local transmission.

Officials said the person with Zika in Pinellas, which includes the city of St. Petersburg, had not traveled internationally but that investigators are looking into the possibility that the virus may have been acquired in a neighboring county.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday that he believes Texas and Louisiana could be hit with local transmissions of Zika next and that the virus could be in U.S. for one to two years.

The CDC has urged pregnant women to consider avoiding Miami’s Wynwood and South Beach areas but this week the areas still remain crowded with tourists. In interviews with The Washington Post and other news media, some visitors shrugged at the travel advisories.

“We really haven’t taken any precautions whatsoever,” one man said. “I guess we should, shouldn’t we?”

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