The spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus has become a world-wide concern, with the World Health Organization declaring it a global health emergency on Feb. 1 and expanding the number of countries with travel warnings.
While the Centers for Disease Prevention & Control has not identified Florida as an area of local Zika risk, the Florida Department of Health is closely monitoring travel-related cases imported into Florida from other countries. Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency to ensure adequate resources to monitor and stay ahead the spread of the virus in Florida.
Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms 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.
While most people infected with Zika develop no symptoms, the spread of the virus has coincided with an increase in the number of women giving birth to infants with microcephaly, a neurological disorder characterized by an abnormally small head and neurological disorders.
DOH encourages Florida residents and visitors to protect themselves from all mosquito-borne illnesses by draining standing water; covering their skin with repellent and clothing; covering windows with screens; and other basic precautions.
For More Information
Florida Department of Health: Most up to date information on spread of Zika virus in Florida and precautions you can take to help prevent mosquito-borne infections.
CDC Travel Notices: Latest Zika-related travel advisories from the CDC.