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The environmental suitability for the Zika virus. From Messina et al., eLife, (2016).
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Rebecca Harrington, Tech Insider

Zika virus has finally made its way to the US mainland, and the virus is now spreading locally in Miami. That means people are getting the virus from American mosquitoes, not just ones that have bitten them while they're abroad.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has even warned pregnant women not to travel to the Miami neighborhood where local cases have been detected.

That may sound scary, but it's not a surprise. Experts expected that the virus would start circulating in Florida.

The question now is: How far will Zika spread across the US?

The most likely answer is that it will spread through southern Gulf states where the mosquitoes that spread the virus are most active.

But the extent of the spread cannot be predicted precisely. It depends on how well public health officials can contain this first outbreak to Miami, and keep imported travel cases from turning into more outbreaks, David Pigott, a global health expert at the University of Washington, told Tech Insider.

"Never say never, but [a local outbreak is] a lot less likely to happen in New York or Washington, D.C. given our current knowledge than it is in Houston, or some cities across Louisiana, or other places in Florida," he said. "In terms of comparative risk, it's the southern states that are going to be the places where you're most likely to see it."

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Read the article with maps of potential outbreak areas