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Florida's first case of South African B.1.351 coronavirus variant found in Hillsborough County

Florida now becomes the 15th state to report a case of the mutation.
Credit: 10 Tampa Bay

Florida now has one reported case of the South African B.1.351 coronavirus variant, according to the latest data on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's website.

The state Health Department confirmed the case was found right here in the Tampa Bay area. An individual in Hillsborough County tested positive for the variant, according to the state's report.

The case means Florida joins 14 other states currently reporting cases. The CDC's latest report from Feb. 28 first showed the variant.

"The emerging variants CDC is closely monitoring have mutations in the virus genome that alter the characteristics and cause the virus to act differently in ways that are significant to public health," the CDC wrote. It’s important to understand that genetic mutations are expected, and some variants can spread and become predominant while others subside."

Cases identified are based on a sampling of SARS-CoV-2-positive specimens and do not represent lineage cases that may be circling the U.S., according to the federal agency

The South African variant of the coronavirus emerged independently from the UK B.1.1.7 variant, according to the CDC. The variant is said to share the same mutations and was first reported in the U.S. at the end of January 2021.

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