People, Travel

England Advises Expectant Mothers Against Florida Travel

England Advises Expectant Mothers Against Florida TravelEngland Advises Expectant Mothers Against Florida Travel

Public health officials in England are advising pregnant women to delay non-essential travel to Florida after the first known cases of the likely local transmission of the Zika virus were discovered in the US.

In its updated travel advice, Public Health England increased the risk designation for Florida from low to medium.

“The risk in Florida is considered moderate based on the number and spread of cases and their demonstrated ability to implement effective control measures for similar diseases such as dengue—a virus transmitted by the same mosquito,” the health agency said in its public guidance, ABC reported.

“Pregnant women should consider postponing non-essential travel to affected areas until after the pregnancy. At present, only a zone of about 1 square mile in Miami-Dade County is considered at risk of active transmission.”

US health officials confirmed on Friday that they believe people ill with Zika acquired the infection locally, marking the first time the virus has been suspected to have been transmitted via infected mosquitoes within the continental United States.

At least four people—three men and one woman—have been infected through local transmission so far, officials said.

The Zika cases in Florida come at a time when tourists from around the world are visiting the Sunshine State’s theme parks, beaches and urban arts districts.

The medical director of England’s public health agency said officials were not surprised by the outbreak in Florida.

“We know the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is known to carry Zika virus, is present in Florida,” said Paul Cosford, director of health protection at Public Health England.

“Pregnant women are advised to consider postponing non-essential travel [to Florida] until after pregnancy,” he said. “And all English visitors to the state are advised to avoid mosquito bites.”