Three new cases of local Zika transmission in Florida: officials

August 30, 2016 9:26 PM EDT

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(Reuters) - Florida health officials on Tuesday said they were investigating three new Zika virus cases likely stemming from local mosquito bites in Miami-Dade County, including two cases outside of the known areas of active transmission.

The new infections bring the state's total of non-travel-related cases to 46, according to the Florida Department of Health. Only one of Tuesday's three new cases was linked to Miami Beach, which is known to be an active area for local Zika transmission.

The health department said it was investigating the other two cases to determine where they occurred, but cautioned, "One case does not mean ongoing active transmission is taking place."

The department said it believes ongoing transmission is only taking place in parts of Miami Beach and the trendy Miami neighborhood of Wynwood, the site of the first local Zika transmission in the United States.

Zika infections have been mounting in popular tourist areas and may have caused concern among wary vacationers. Travelers have booked fewer hotel rooms in downtown Miami, and leisure airfares to the greater Miami area have inched down in the weeks since the Zika virus was detected there.

Florida health department workers have been going door-to-door in Pinellas, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties to talk to residents about the virus and offer voluntary tests.

The Zika virus was first detected in Brazil last year and has since spread across the Americas. The virus poses a risk to pregnant women because it can cause severe birth defects, including microcephaly. It has been linked to more than 1,800 cases of microcephaly in Brazil.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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