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Zika Arrived Multiple Times

Scripps Translational Science Institute researchers have found that there were likely dozens of separate introductions of the Zika virus into Florida, Medscape Medical News reports.

By sequencing viral samples from 17 people, Scripps' Kristian Andersen and his team found that those viruses could be traced to four different viral introductions. Then extrapolating that to the wider infected population, they estimated that "the number of introductions that caused the outbreak in Miami is quite substantial," and could be as many as 30, Andersen said at the Future of Genomic Medicine Conference, according to Medscape Medical News.

"The vast majority [of infected travelers] came by cruise ship. That is not something I would have expected," he added.

Andersen and his team also estimated the time of arrival of the Zika virus in Florida to have been in the spring of 2016 — months before the first case was uncovered. He noted that the outbreak in Miami is over, though a new outbreak could occur if new introductions are made.

"The take-home message is that we need to diagnose or detect much earlier," George Mias from Michigan State University tells Medscape Medical News.