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Miami-Dade residents contract Zika virus

Virus acquired while traveling in Colombia

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MIAMI – Two Miami-Dade County residents have contracted the Zika virus that has been linked to birth defects in South America.

The Florida Department of Health says that the two unnamed residents were stricken with the virus while visiting Colombia in December.

A resident of Hillsborough County also contracted the disease while traveling in Venezuela.

Fear of Zika's arrival in the United States has grown since the Center for Disease Control issued a warning on January 15 advising pregnant women to avoid traveling to countries in Central and South America, and the Caribbean.

The Department of Health hopes to reassure Florida citizens that none of the cases were locally-acquired, but are hoping people take proper precautions from the mosquite-borne virus.

Residents are being told to drain standing water, cover their skin with repellent and clothing and cover windows with screens.

Symptoms of the disease include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis, with symptoms usually lasting from several days to a week.

The CDC believes there is a link between Zika and a rash of birth defects that are currently being investigated in Brazil.  

Because the specific species of mosquitos that transmit the virus are found throughout the world, it is expected that outbreaks will continue to spread to new countries.