New concerns are mounting over the mosquito-borne Zika virus after 2 additional people were diagnosed with Zika even though they didn't leave the county, bringing the total non-travel related cases in Florida to four.
In light of this, the Food and Drug Administration is now requesting that all blood banks in South Florida stop collecting immediately until donations can be tested for the virus. As of Thursday, Southwest Florida has had eleven zika cases, all travel-related.
"There are no areas in Florida that are immune to this virus," said Shelly Redovan, a spokesperson with the Lee County Mosquito Control. "We're out trapping mosquitos. We're treating them wherever we find mosquitos that would be capable of carrying zika virus. We're pulling those mosquitos back into our lab to see if they've picked up zika virus," she adds.
Thusfar, there hasn't been a single mosquito in Lee County found with the Zika virus, although the aedes aegypti and albopictus that can carry the virus do reside in Southwest Florida.
"I think the liklihood of there being local transmission in Florida especially in densely urban areas is very likely," said Redovan.
Lee Memorial Health Systems tells Fox4 they screen patients by asking them if they've traveled outside of the county recently and "If the answer is yes and they have symptoms consistent with Zika, the physician works with the Florida Department of Health Lee County to determine whether to administer a Zika test."
Redovan believes a zika-carrying mosquito in Lee County would present a greater challenge for health experts, "Only about 20% show symptoms. The 80% who get it will be asymptomatic and may not even realize they have the virus and they can expose other mosquitos so this virus is a challenge."