Mosquito-borne Zika may have already hit the US mainland

FLORIDA'S governor says the state likely has the first cases of Zika transmitted by mosquitoes on the US mainland.

"This morning we learned that four people in our state likely have the Zika virus as a result of a mosquito bite. This means Florida has become the first state in our nation to have local transmission of the Zika virus," Rick Scott said at a Friday press conference.

While no mosquitoes in the state had tested positive for the virus, Mr Scott added, officials suspect the four cases on infection originated in a one-square-mile area north of downtown Miami. Three men and one woman were infected.

The Florida Department of Health reported that it is going door-to-door in the impacted area and testing residents. So far, the state has not found any Aedes species mosquitoes that carry the virus.

"Florida currently has the capacity to test 6,609 people for active Zika virus and 2,059 people for Zika antibodies," Mr Scott said. "If we need more test kits, we will immediately request them from the [Centers for Disease Control]."

The CDC has not issued a travel limit to the state of Florida.

Mr Scott allocated $26.2m (£19.8m) to relief and containment efforts, but expressed disappointment that the federal government has not yet cleared emergency funding.

"This is not just a Florida issue. It's a national issue. We just happen to be at the forefront," said Scott.

More than 1,650 cases of Zika have been reported in the US - mostly from people who traveled to Latin American and Caribbean countries where the spread of the virus has reached crisis levels.

The four infected in Florida mark the first cases of people who contracted the virus without leaving the continental US.  

Additional reporting by the Associated Press


Rising Lockyer golfer teams up with Aussie cricketing legend

Premium Content Rising Lockyer golfer teams up with Aussie cricketing legend

IN an unlikely match up, a Lockyer Valley golfer has teamed up with an iconic...

FORECAST: Why not everyone will receive rain this week

Premium Content FORECAST: Why not everyone will receive rain this week

YESTERDAY’S weather events are a taste of what’s yet to come. But here’s why some...

INLAND RAIL: How flooding, crossings will impact local towns

Premium Content INLAND RAIL: How flooding, crossings will impact local towns

FOREST Hill residents have raised flooding concerns about a huge Inland Rail...