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November 2016

First Locally Transmitted Zika Virus Cases Identified in the United States

Author Affiliations
  • 1Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, Florida
  • 2Altino Ventura Foundation, Recife, Brazil
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2016;134(11):1219-1220. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2016.3623

As the world becomes smaller with globalization, exposure to diseases from distant lands has increased. This is certainly evident with Zika virus (ZIKV), a flavivirus that was originally isolated in Rhesus monkeys from Uganda. ZIKV subsequently infected humans and migrated from Africa and Asia to the Americas. The actual and most devastating ZIKV outbreak reported in history started in May 2015 in the northeast of Brazil, when approximately 0.4 to 1.3 million people were infected with ZIKV that year.

ZIKV rapidly spread through other countries, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) update shows 51 counties and territories with active ZIKV transmission.1 Initial reports in the United States included cases only in returning travelers.1 Although countries in the Americas reported transmission of ZIKV cases, no local transmission was documented in the continental United States until July 2016. At that time, the state of Florida announced that the Florida Department of Health confirmed a total of 14 cases of local ZIKV infection.2,3 These are the first known cases of local ZIKV infection in the continent, probably mosquito-transmitted.2