By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Dec. 9, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Florida is now Zika-free, U.S. health officials reported Friday.

One area in south Miami Beach had remained an active zone for local transmission of the virus, which can cause severe birth defects in babies born to women who are infected while pregnant.

But the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement that there have been no new cases of local Zika transmission in South Miami Beach for more than 45 days, so that neighborhood is no longer considered an active zone.

“Florida’s rapid response and comprehensive mosquito control program has allowed them to interrupt Zika transmission, but we must stay vigilant and also take what we have learned and be prepared for next season,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said in a news release.

And he added a caveat.

“Pregnant women who live or have been to this area should continue to be evaluated for Zika exposure during their prenatal visits to prevent the devastating effects Zika can cause in their infants,” Frieden said.