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4 people infected with Zika in Florida are likely the first locally transmitted cases in US

Four people in Florida are likely the first in the United States to contract the Zika virus by local mosquitoes, officials said Friday, July 29.

More than 1,600 travel cases have been reported in the U.S., according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Florida Department of Health officials believe the active transmission occurred in a small area in Miami-Dade County, north of downtown Miami.

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Three men and one woman are infected.

"We learned today that four people in our state likely have the Zika virus as a result of a mosquito bite," Scott said on Friday.

No mosquito in Florida has tested positive for Zika, but officials are encouraging residents in the area to get tested.

In response to the likely first mosquito-borne cases for the U.S., Scott said officials will ramp up efforts to keep citizens safe.

"Now that Florida has become the first state to have a local transmission, likely through a mosquito, we will continue to put every resource available to fighting the spread of Zika in our state," he said.

The governor allocated more than $26 million in state funds last month to increase efforts to ward off Zika.

Zika can pose major threats to health, especially for pregnant women. The disease has been linked to microcephaly, a serious birth defect.

Weather can be a major influence on spread of Zika virus and the life cycle of its mosquito host, especially in areas with warm weather and high humidity. Therefore, in the United States, the virus poses a higher risk in southern areas.

Higher temperatures and rain can influence how quickly viruses like Zika can replicate in its mosquito host, Candice Burns Hoffmann, a press officer with the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, said.

"At warmer temperatures, virus particles replicate faster, leading to higher viral loads, which may contribute to more efficient transmission," she said.