Florida Governor Declares Health Emergency in Four Counties
Gov. Scott has signed Executive Order 16-29 directing Florida State Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong to declare a public health emergency in the four counties which have the Zika virus, according to the governor’s website.
The Executive Order follows the discovery of a total of nine travel-associated cases (defined as disease believed to be contracted outside of the state) of the Zika virus across Miami-Dade, Hillsborough, Lee and Santa Rosa Counties.
“Today I am directing Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong to declare a public health emergency in the four counties that have individuals with the Zika virus. 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 Scott on Wednesday.
To view the Executive Order, click HERE.
Link to Microcephaly
Researchers suspect a possible link between Zika virus infection and microcephaly, a severe birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age. Babies with microcephaly often have smaller brains that might not have developed properly.
Microcephaly can occur as a result of changes in babies genes, as well as other causes that can include the following exposures during pregnancy:
Microcephaly is a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age. Babies with microcephaly often have smaller brains that might not have developed properly. Microcephaly is not a common condition. State birth defects tracking systems have estimated that microcephaly ranges from 2 babies per 10,000 live births to about 12 babies per 10,000 live births in the Unites States.
Ae. aegypti Mosquitoes: The Principal Vectors of ZIKV
Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus are the principal vectors of dengue (DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, DENV-4), chikungunya (CHIKV), yellow fever (YFV), and Zika (ZIKV) viruses. Of these seven arboviruses, DENV, YFV and CHIKV have caused outbreaks within the United States and its territories in the past 110 years.
With a newly-obtained fiery red blood meal visible through her transparent abdomen, the now heavy female Aedes aegypti mosquito took flight as she left her host’s skin surface. Photo Credit: James Gathany/ CDC
Approximate distribution of Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus mosquitoes in the United States. -CDC-
ZIKV in Brief [CDC]
Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
Outbreaks of Zika have occurred in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the Americas. Because the Aedes species mosquitoes that spread Zika virus are found throughout the world, it is likely that outbreaks will spread to new countries. In December 2015, Puerto Rico reported its first confirmed Zika virus case. Locally transmitted Zika has not been reported elsewhere in the United States, but cases of Zika have been reported in returning travelers.
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. When traveling to countries where Zika virus (see map) or other viruses spread by mosquitoes have been reported, use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens.
Zika and pregnancy
Zika Travel Notices
- Zika Virus in Cape Verde
- Zika Virus in the Caribbean
Currently includes: Barbados; Curaçao; Dominican Republic; Guadeloupe; Haiti; Jamaica; Martinique; the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory; Saint Martin; U.S. Virgin Islands
- Zika Virus in Central America
Currently includes: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama
- Zika Virus in Mexico
- Zika Virus in the Pacific Islands
Currently includes: American Samoa, Samoa, Tonga
- Zika Virus in South America
Currently includes: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela
Latest Health Warnings
Authorities in four countries—Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador and Jamaica—have warned women to avoid pregnancy as cases of microcephaly, believed to be caused by Zika virus (ZIKV), continue to multiply.
Brazil. Authorities say the number of babies born with suspected microcephaly has now reached about 4,000 since October, 2015.
Colombia. Health Minister has urged women to delay pregnancies for about eight months.
Ecuador, El Salvador and Jamaica. Authorities have told women to delay pregnancies by up to two years.
U.S. In January, explosive outbreaks of ZIKV, a dangerous tropical disease linked to birth defects, prompted the U.S. health officials to issue a travel alert for people traveling to regions and countries where the virus transmission is spreading: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Countries that have past or current evidence of Zika virus transmission
AFRICA: Angola*, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt*, Ethiopia*, Gabon, Gambia*, Kenya*, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone*, Somalia*, Tanzania*, Uganda and Zambia*.
AMERICAS: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Suriname and Venezuela.
OCEANIA/PACIFIC ISLANDS: Cook Islands, Easter Island, Federated States of Micronesia, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
ASIA: Cambodia, India*, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan*, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam*.
[*For these countries, the only evidence of Zika virus transmission is from studies that detected Zika virus antibodies in healthy people. These studies cannot determine where the people were infected or if they were infected with Zika virus because the antibodies may have resulted from infections with other closely related viruses, such a; s dengue virus.]