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Pregnant women warned to stay away from this Miami neighbourhood as Zika spreads

The virus is being spread by mosquitoes there. Pregnant women living there are told to abstain or use barrier protection during sex.

Image: CDC

ONE SPECIFIC NEIGHBOURHOOD in Miami, Florida, has been identified as the source of a mosquito-spread outbreak of the Zika virus.

The US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has now issued a warning for the neighbourhood, which is called Wynwood, saying that pregnant women should not travel there.

The area is a one-mile section north of downtown Miami which is a popular arts and restaurant district.

It says that Zika is being spread by mosquitoes in Wynwood. The guidelines say that pregnant women and their partners living in the neighbourhood should follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.

Women in the area who are pregnant are also urged to use barrier protection during sex, or to abstain in order to lower the risk of transmission from a partner.

The CDC also says that all pregnant women in the United States should be assessed for possible Zika virus exposure during each prenatal care visit.

First locally-transmitted case of Zika 

On Friday, Florida officials announced the first locally transmitted cases of Zika in the United States, with all four linked to the same area in Miami.

Governor Rick Scott said today that the number of identified cases had jumped by 10 to 14.

The cases mark the first time the Zika virus, which can cause birth defects and is considered particularly dangerous for pregnant women, is known to be spreading via local mosquitoes in the United States.

Over 1,600 cases of Zika have been previously reported in the US, but most were brought by travellers who were infected elsewhere. The virus can also spread by sexual contact.

The CDC is sending an emergency team of specialists to Miami.

Zika is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and also by sexual contact. Two of the 14 cases involve women and the rest are men.

Here in Ireland, the Department of Foreign Affairs says that people should follow guidance available on the website of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

- Additional reporting © AFP, 2016

Read: Zika virus: Travel warning issued for pregnant Irish women>

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