Health Official: Zika May Spread Across U.S. Gulf

A top U.S. health official has warned that the public could soon see cases of Zika popping up in Gulf States like Louisiana and Texas after the mosquito-borne virus spread to Miami Beach. “It would not be surprising if we would see additional cases perhaps in other Gulf Coast states,” Anthony Fauci, director of the allergy and infectious diseases unit of the National Institutes of Health, told ABC News on Sunday. Recent flooding in Louisiana has made the state a prime target for the virus, he said, noting the best way to prevent Zika from spreading is to get rid of standing water—an impossible task for authorities there. Fauci’s warning comes after Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced last week that five cases of locally infected Zika had been contracted in the tourist hotspot of Miami Beach, prompting a warning to all pregnant women to avoid the area. Zika infections in pregnant women can cause severe birth defects in babies, including microcephaly.