Polk County

Polk County is a place of so many contradictions. It's the home of beautiful lakes, charming downtowns and historic landmarks. But this birthplace of several of Florida's governors, was also named by one recent study as having the country's second largest percentage of people struggling to avoid hunger.


On a recent Tuesday, the weekly produce market co-op at the Woodbrook Estates mobile home community in Lakeland was bustling. 

Three unvaccinated horses in Central Florida have caught eastern equine encephalitis.

Florida has its first confirmed case of sexually-transmitted Zika virus.

Florida added two more cases of Zika Wednesday in Polk County. One was caught by a person who was traveling in Puerto Rico, but the other person caught the virus by sexual transmission. Because of patient confidentiality, officials can’t say if the two are related.

The state Department of Health has confirmed the first Florida case of a severe respiratory illness affecting children around the country.

Officials said a 10-year-old girl from Polk County was recovering Tuesday from enterovirus 68. She was treated in Hillsborough County.

The virus causes cold and flu-like symptoms and is considered highly contagious. In infants and young children, the virus can cause difficulty breathing.

The expansion of Medicaid managed care is the reason for the elimination of 85 state jobs at the Florida Department of Health in Polk County, the Lakeland Ledger reports. Among the positions that will be eliminated are registered nurses, advanced registered nurse practitioners, licensed practical nurses and health support workers. According to the Ledger, 28 of the positions are vacant.