MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A health emergency has been declared in Miami-Dade and three other counties due to the Zika virus.
Governor Rick Scott signed the order Wednesday to cover Miami-Dade, Lee, Hillsborough and Santa Rosa counties. Lee and Hillsborough counties has two confirmed cases each, Santa Rosa had one.
Florida health officials have confirmed that there have been nine cases of the mosquito borne Zika virus in the state, four of which were in Miami-Dade.
All nine cases have been contracted by people who’ve traveled to Latin America and the Caribbean. None of the cases have involved pregnant women.
“Although Florida’s current nine Zika cases were travel-related, we have to ensure Florida is prepared and stays ahead of the spread of the Zika virus in our state. Our Department of Health will continue to be in constant communication with all county health offices, hospitals and the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We know that we must be prepared for the worst even as we hope for the best,” said Gov. Scott in a statement.
The order allows the state’s agriculture department to use mosquito spray more in those areas. It also directs the Florida Department of Health to make its own decisions about what’s needed from the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Centers For Disease Control says they have confirmed the first case of the virus being transmitted sexually in Texas.
The Zika virus has been found in 28 countries, with a majority of the cases being reported in Brazil.
Only about 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus are symptomatic. Zika fever is a mild illness. Signs and symptoms of Zika fever may include a low-grade fever, rash, joint pain, reddening of the eyes, body aches, headache, eye pain, and vomiting. Illness typically resolves within a week.
The real concern is for women who are pregnant because it is linked to possible serious birth defects for unborn children.
South Florida hospitals are now asking pregnant women if they have traveled to areas known to have confirmed cases of the Zika virus during the admission process. Pregnant women are being advised not to travel to areas where the virus is present. If they do, they should consult with their doctor first.
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