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Experts: Undercount Hides extent of Zika virus in Florida

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Critics have said the message from state health officials has not been strong enough about the Zika virus.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott and state health officials have vowed to put out “accurate and timely information” about the Zika virus, but some cases announced as “new” are often several weeks old because of a lag in diagnosis, the Miami Herald reported.

The information also omits details that public health experts say would allow people to make informed decisions and provide a complete picture of Zika’s foothold in Florida, the Herald reported.

State Surgeon General Celeste Philip said Florida’s method of documenting Zika infections in the state adheres to standards set by the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the newspaper. Guidelines state that Zika cases are counted in the state where the person lives — regardless of where the exposure might have occurred.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.