TAMPA (FOX 13) - Health officials have confirmed the first mosquito-transmitted cases of the Zika virus in the United States, blood centers in two Florida counties have been advised by the Food and Drug Administration to cease collecting donations.
The FDA advised blood centers in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to stop collecting while four cases of non-travel related Zika cases are under review. Health officials were operating under the hypothesis that the cases developed from mosquitoes carrying the virus, which was confirmed Friday.
"Because of what the FDA has done it makes me believe that they have a high degree of suspicion at least one if not all four of these individuals may have gotten the Zika virus through mosquito transmission," said FOX13 medical reporter Dr. Joette Giovinco.
FDA officials released a statement Thursday which reads in part, "These may be the first cases of local Zika virus transmission by mosquitoes in the continental United States."
In response, OneBlood, the state's largest blood center, said it would follow the FDA guidance and beginning Friday would test 100-percent of blood donations for the Zika virus.
Experts say the primary risk group remains pregnant women or women planning to become pregnant because Zika has been linked to birth defects in babies.
"The prevailing thought is that if you're a healthy person you get a Zika infection you clear it pretty rapidly and you're unable to transmit it. However we do know that there have been cases or there's this thought that men would be able to transmit the virus sexually through semen for a prolonged period of time," said Dr. Giovinco.