SWFL mosquitos could bring Zika and Yellow Fever

Posted at 10:15 PM, May 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-05 06:17:55-04

FORT MYERS - State health officials announce a rise in the number of Zika cases but, Four in your Corner is learning they're gearing up for even more potentially deadly outbreaks.

Three new cases of Zika reported in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.  One involves a pregnant woman. Meanwhile, the number of cases in Lee County remains at four and in Collier County there’s one.

During a closed door meeting Wednesday our crews happened to overhear health officials discussing new threats similar to Zika that may pose a very real danger. They say if you live anywhere near Lee County, you're at ground zero for Florida's war on mosquitoes.

Wayne Gale is the Director of Lee County's Mosquito Control District. He tells us, “Lee County is the flattest, wettest, most mosquito-breedingest county in the state."

He and dozens of county workers met with state officials to discuss the latest on Zika along with a new threat of other potentially deadly diseases.

Gale says, “We routinely get imported cases of Dengue, Chikungunya, Zika, and Malaria."

Right now there's an outbreak of yellow fever in the African country of Angola. That’s now prompting the United States to send all available vaccines to them. That means if yellow fever was to hit the U.S. right now, we could be facing a shortage. Gale explains, “There's a vaccine for yellow fever, which there is no vaccine for Zika or Dengue or Chikungunya right now so it's just a matter of ramping up if it were to start spreading."

From A to Zika, officials here want you to be prepared for whatever threat may be on the horizon. Gale says, "There's always people coming in from foreign countries where these diseases exist and they get sick when they get here and there's always the potential for those diseases to be picked up in our local mosquitoes."

Although the number of Florida’s Zika cases remains at about a hundred, officials say there are also wild monkeys throughout Florida that could carry the virus. So far none of those cases have been reported.