Gov. Rick Scott Declares Zika Virus Health Emergency, 9 Cases Reported In Florida
By Dr. James Palermo // February 4, 2016
health emergency in four counties
ABOVE VIDEO: CBS Evening News’ Dr. Jon Lapook reports on the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil, comments on Gov. Scott’s declaration of a health emergency in Florida and addresses the possibility of a mosquito-born virus outbreak in the U.S.
With nine cases of the mosquito-borne Zika virus illness reported in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott declared a health emergency in four counties on Wednesday.
State and national health officials believe that all of the cases involve people who contracted the disease while traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
“We have to ensure Florida is prepared and stays ahead of the spread of the Zika virus in our state,” Scott said in a statement. “We know that we must be prepared for the worst even as we hope for the best.”
Scott’s executive order requires the state health officer to “take any action necessary to protect public health” and allows the commissioner of agriculture to issue a “mosquito declaration” in the affected counties to reduce populations of the insects that can spread the disease.
Miami-Dade, Lee, Hillsborough and Santa Rosa counties are included in the health emergency declaration signed by Scott. That’s where all of the affected cases were detected.
The illness is primarily spread by the same mosquito that spreads dengue and yellow fever, and the types of mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, are common in Florida, where mosquito season is year-round.
The impact of the outbreak can be managed by mosquito control. Florida is stepping up spraying and education programs focused on personal diligence in preventing exposure and bites.
Although the virus is rarely transmitted person to person, investigators have been exploring the possibility it could be sexually transmitted.
U.S. health officials say a person in Texas became infected with Zika through sex, in the first case of the illness being transmitted within the United States.