4 more Zika cases reported in Miami area; Texas baby's death linked to Zika

LIVE OAK, Florida (WPVI) -- The number of people infected with Zika virus by mosquitoes in the Miami area rose again Tuesday.

Four more nontravel-related cases were reported in South Florida.

This brings the total to 21. Health officials still say the only area that has active local transmission is the small area just north of downtown Miami.

On Tuesday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said, "The federal government must stop playing politics and Congress needs to immediately come back to session to resolve this."

He says Florida has been able to move funds to fight Zika.

But this is a national problem.

Texas reported its first Zika-related death Tuesday after a baby girl whose mother traveled to El Salvador while pregnant died shortly after birth in a suburban Houston hospital.

The girl, who died a few weeks ago, had microcephaly linked to the Zika virus, said Dr. Umair Shah, executive director of Harris County Public Health.

"We are devastated to report our first case of Zika-associated death and our hearts go out to the family," Shah said.

Test results linking the death to Zika were confirmed Friday.

The mother had traveled while pregnant to her native El Salvador and returned to Harris County in her second trimester. Officials did not release her name.

But they did say she didn't know Zika virus was "in play" when she went to El Salvador, and didn't know she was infected till birth.

"This is a situation where the baby was born with microcephaly. The doctors did the right thing and began testing," said Dr. Shah.

Those tests confirmed Zika virus.

There are no locally-spread cases in Texas, however, officials are reminding people to get rid of standing water where mosquitoes breed and use insect repellent with DEET.

The only other confirmed Zika-related death in the U.S. was that of an elderly Utah man who died in June. He suffered from additional health conditions.

Florida is the only U.S. state that has reported homegrown Zika transmission by mosquitoes, in Miami-Dade County.

Last week, Texas officials announced the state's Medicaid program would provide mosquito repellent to all expectant mothers and women between the ages of 10 and 45.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett doubted the efficiency of that program, and said he would work with local and state officials as well as corporate partners to get the spray directly to residents.

"How many people are going to go get a prescription for bug spray? I think the more realistic way is to find corporate partners and make it happen," he said.
Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.