The troubling signs have been building up, and on Friday, health officials confirmed: Florida mosquitoes are transmitting the Zika virus, the first time the virus has been known to be transmitted in the continental US. Four people so far in Miami-Dade and Broward counties have gotten the virus from local mosquitoes, state health officials have confirmed, although they have not yet been able to trap any mosquitoes that have tested positive for the virus. "If you live in this area and want to be tested, I urge you to contact the county health department, which stands ready to assist you," Florida Gov. Rick Scott said at a press conference, per USA Today.
Officials believe local transmission is so far confined to one single ZIP code, but an investigation continues to determine whether others are infected, and there are restrictions on blood donations from donors who live in or have recently traveled to the affected area. Officials have long stated that though US transmission of the virus was inevitable, the problem won't be as widespread as it is in other areas, thanks to mosquito-control efforts, improved housing construction, window and door screens, and the proliferation of air-conditioning. Vox offers up nine reasons not to panic, including the fact that only 1% of pregnant women who get Zika will experience complications with their babies. (Read more Zika virus stories.)