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HEALTH ALERT: 3 new cases of Zika in Fla.

Posted at 3:20 PM, Feb 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-04 17:29:16-05
Florida Gov. Rick Scott says the state has three new cases of Zika and he's adding a fifth county to his health emergency declaration.
 
Scott said Thursday at a news conference in Tampa that the 12 cases in Florida are all from people who became infected with the mosquito-borne virus when they traveled to other countries.
 
On Wednesday, Gov. Scott declared a health emergency.
 
Where cases have been reported
 
Miami-Dade: 5 cases
Hillsborough:  3 cases
Lee:  2 cases
Broward: 1 case
Santa Rosa:  1 case
 
The three new reported cases of Zika are in Broward, Miami-Dade and Hillsborough Counties.
 
All cases in Florida are still travel-related and do not include any pregnant women.
Florida's warm climate, year-round mosquitoes and revolving door of international travelers make it vulnerable, but local governments have a history of fighting off similar viruses.
 
Scott says the state is preparing like it would for a hurricane and wants residents and tourists to know Florida is safe. He has asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 1,000 kits to test for Zika antibodies, on top of about 500 the state already has.
 
"The best thing to do is be prepared, be ready, we've got to make sure people feel comfortable, that's why we're getting the test kits," Governor Scott said. 
 
The governor is asking how much of the $1.6 million allocated for mosquito control is left.
 
"We want to stay ahead of the Zika virus and that means you have to eliminate mosquitos, we've done it before and i believe we're going to do it again," Dr. John Armstrong, Florida's Surgeon General, said. 
 
He recommends pregnant women, who are the highest risk, avoid mosquitos, stay inside, use repellents and wear long-sleeves. 
 
"It's definitely hard with the heat but again everything is so crucial during this time of pregnancy that you have to do what you have to do," expectant mother Stephanie Hanrahan said. 
 
The CDC will be speaking with Florida hospital workers about Zika virus symptoms. Testing will be voluntary but health officials are asking everyone to be proactive. 
 
"I mean its obviously very scary and I think as a mom you always want to take preventative measures to protect your kids and that starts in utero," Hanrahan said.
 
What is Zika Virus?
  • Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes.  The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. 
  • Outbreaks of Zika have occurred in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the Americas. 
  • There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika. 
  • Travelers can protect themselves from this disease by taking steps to prevent mosquito bites.
- Info provided by the CDC