Florida Gov. Scott lifts Zika infection zone in Miami Beach

While Scott said he welcomed the news of no new mosquito-borne transmissions, he said the federal government should have done more to help South Florida combat Zika.

Saying part of Miami Beach has been cleared, Gov. Rick Scott's administration announced Friday that Florida does not have any identified areas where the Zika virus is being transmitted by mosquitoes.

Dr. John Hellerstedt, the state health commissioner, said colder weather and mosquito-control efforts have decreased mosquito activity in the area, but he warned that South Texas' mild winters mean mosquito populations can quickly rebound during short periods of warmer weather.

Zika is primarily transmitted to humans by mosquitoes that have previously bitten an infected person, though sexual transmission can also occur.

Over the last several weeks, the Florida Department of Health (Florida Health) has reported a small but steady stream of local cases, many of them Miami-Dade County residents for whom the exposure location was still undetermined.

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Isolated Zika infections remain under investigation elsewhere in Miami-Dade County.

Florida health officials said Thursday that 249 people had contracted Zika in the state. He also urged pregnant women who live in or have visited the area to be evaluated for Zika virus during their prenatal visits.

Researchers say some birth defects caused by Zika infections may not be apparent at birth but develop months later.

CHICAGO Cases of microcephaly in Colombia were four times higher this year than last, an increase that coincides with a widespread outbreak of Zika virus in the country, a report released on Friday said.At its peak in July, microcephaly cases in Colombia were nine times higher than in the same month in 2015, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's weekly report on death and disease. Health officials announced that area was free of active Zika transmission in September.

In a hotel on Ocean Drive, Scott was joined by local tourism boosters who have eagerly awaited this day.

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