The number of people in Maryland with the Zika virus has grown to 31, state health officials said Friday as they reminded people to take steps to avoid contracting the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also announced that it was awarding the state $366,427 as part of $25 million in funding to support Zika prevention efforts.


All of the Maryland cases are travel-related and no one has contracted Zika from being bitten by a mosquito in the state.

But if a mosquito bites one of the infected people and then bites someone else, the disease could spread even further.

"We want to guard against such occurrences here in Maryland," Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary Van T. Mitchell said in a statement.

Zika is transmitted primarily through the bite of the aedes aegypti mosquito and health officials believe preventing bites is the best defense. The Centers for Disease Control has also said people who have traveled to countries where the virus is actively transmitted, including the Caribbean and Central American and South American countries, should abstain from unprotected sexual activity. The agency urged pregnant women to avoid mosquito bites and travel to areas with active spread of Zika because the virus is linked to birth defects.

State health officials are reminding people attending outdoor events over the July 4 weekend and throughout mosquito season to take precautions to avoid getting bitten, such as using mosquito repellant with DEET. They also recommend getting rid of containers of standing water where mosquitos may lay eggs.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture is amping up efforts to survey certain areas for mosquitos carrying West Nile Virus and Zika.