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Feds Declare Zika Emergency In Puerto Rico

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Florida Channel
Zika in the United States.

With more than 10,000 confirmed Zika cases on the island, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday declared a public-health emergency in Puerto Rico.

In announcing the declaration, the federal agency pointed to the dangers that the mosquito-borne virus poses to pregnant women. Zika can cause severe birth defects.

"This emergency declaration allows us to provide additional support to the Puerto Rican government and reminds us of the importance of pregnant women, women of childbearing age and their partners taking additional steps to protect themselves and their families from Zika," Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a prepared statement.

The announcement said Puerto Rico has had 10,690 laboratory-confirmed cases of Zika, including 1,035 cases involving pregnant women. Meanwhile, the number of Zika cases in Florida continued to climb Friday.

The Florida Department of Health said three new locally transmitted cases had been discovered in Miami-Dade County, bringing to 28 the number of cases believed to have been caused by mosquito bites in the county. Also, Florida reported 10 new travel-related cases, bringing the total to 413.