New statistics from Florida suggest that public health agencies may be having trouble containing the Zika virus.
Tests conducted by the Florida Department of Health have turned up 12 new Zika infections that appear to have originated outside the mainland United States, according to the department’s latest daily Zika report.
The tests have also turned up three cases that appear to have originated in Florida, officials said.
Officials believe that patient was exposed to Zika in a 1-mile-square area in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, which is known for its art galleries and restaurants.
“The other two new non-travel-related infections are located outside of the 1-mile-square area,” officials said.
The health department believes those two new local cases may have also originated in the one-mile square hot zone, officials said. But the health department cannot prove that the two cases from outside the Wynwood area occurred in the known one-mile-square hot zone.
Health agencies around the country have been aggressive about testing pregnant women for Zika, and three of the new Zika cases involve pregnant women, officials said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that Zika could causes neurological problems and other problems in 1 percent to 13 percent of fetuses exposed to Zika.
Other researchers reported in February, in the medical journal Lancet, that, during an earlier Zika outbreak in French Polynesia, Zika may have caused Guillain Barre Syndrome, a condition that can cause paralysis, in about 1 in 4,000 people who contracted Zika, and that Zika-related Guillain Barre Syndrome may have led to lingering problems with walking in about half of the patients who contracted that syndrome.
Polio, another disease known for causing paralysis, causes some level of permanent paralysis in about 1 in 200 cases, according to the World Health Organization.
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