Local hospitals to begin Zika virus testing - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Local hospitals to begin Zika virus testing

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(AP photo) (AP photo)
NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

The state is stepping up its efforts to prevent the spread of the Zika virus.

Gov. Dannel Malloy held a news conference on Thursday, along with Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Paul Rino and Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station Director Dr. Theodore Andreadis.

Malloy's news conference comes following what was learned from an investigation in Florida.

Health officials there have been trying to figure out where a woman transmitted the virus from.

They said she would be the first person to get the virus from a mosquito in the continental United States.

More than 1,300 cases of the virus have been reported in the U.S. 31 have been reported in Connecticut.

The state Department of Public Health commissioner Dr. Raul Pino said they are looking to see if any of the cases were locally transmitted.

"We are looking to potentially catch cases that are maybe related to local transmission either by mosquito or sexual transmission," said Pino.

Officials said hospitals in Bridgeport and Stratford will be testing 10 patients every week who display typical Zika symptoms but haven't traveled to countries that have been commonly impacted.

"I think the real message is we're being very diligent. We're doing the testing and the resources necessary to continue that process are at hand," said Malloy.

Dr. Manon Cox, who is president and CEO of the Meriden-based lab Protein Sciences, said they've been working on a Zika vaccine.

"We are trying to take an approach which is already FDA approved and that might fast track us through approval. That still means you have to do animal tests. You have to do clinical tests and you have to prove that your vaccine is safe and effective," said Cox. 

So far, 90,000 mosquitoes have been track tested in the state. None have tested positive for Zika.

Health officials there have been trying to figure out with a woman transmitted the virus from a mosquito bite.

They said she would be the first person to get the virus from a mosquito in the continental United States.

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