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BY TIMOTHY O’HARA Free Press Staff


 There are three travel-related Zika cases involving pregnant women that have not been previously reported, and all total, there are eight travel-related Zika cases, according to the Department of Health. 

The health department had not been releasing the locations of pregnant women who contracted the tropical disease Zika, which has been known to cause birth defects.

 But on Wednesday, the Department of Health “updated the way that Zika cases are counted in daily communications to the public. Cases in pregnant women will now be included in the counts by county for travel-associated cases,” the department said in a press release.

The change came after The Key West Citizen and other news outlets requested the names of communities where pregnant women had contracted the disease and those requests were denied.

 On Oct. 27, the department announced that there were six total travel-related cases in Monroe County. One of these six was retracted as the individual is a foreign national, acquired the disease outside of the United States and is not a Monroe County resident. Therefore, at that time, the public was told that there were five travel-related cases in Monroe, according to the Department of Health. 

Travel-related Zika cases have now been reported on Key West, Stock Island, Marathon, Big Pine Key and Grassy Key.

 Because of the concern over birth defects, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District has partnered with the Florida Keys Early Start Coalition to better protect pregnant women in the Keys. Zika cases now at 8 B