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Officials investigating source of Zika case in Florida

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MIAMI–Florida’s Department of Health has revised an earlier statement and now says it hasn’t ruled out sexual transmission or travel as the source of a Miami-area woman’s Zika infection, despite reports to the contrary.

Spokewoman Mara Gambineri says her emailed statement earlier Thursday was incorrect. She says she was wrong and that she should have written that “sexual transmission related to travel has not been ruled out.”

She says not all the blood and urine tests from the people around the infected patient have come back yet, and they can’t definitively say that nobody involved traveled outside the United States recently.

Health officials are trying to determine whether the woman could be the first person infected with the Zika virus directly by a mosquito bite inside the continental United States.

Zika is usually spread by mosquitoes, but nearly all the Zika cases in the U.S. have been contracted in other countries or through sex with someone who traveled and was bitten elsewhere.

Miami-Dade County has been sending mosquitoes trapped in the woman’s neighborhood to be tested at Florida Gulf Coast University since July 15. A spokeswoman for Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says none of the samples have tested positive for the Zika virus.

Meanwhile, the largest blood bank in central Florida is going to start screening for the Zika virus.

OneBlood said Thursday that it will start screening for the mosquito-borne virus Aug. 1.

Dr. Rita Reik, OneBlood’s chief medical officer, says in a statement that only a portion of collections will be screened.

Hospitals and other facilities that want Zika-screened blood will have to make a request.

Reik says that will allow them to have screened-blood for high-risk patients such as pregnant women.

OneBlood’s announcement comes as health officials are trying to determine whether a Miami-area woman is the first person directly infected by a mosquito on the U.S. mainland.

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