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Zika Virus Case Confirmed In Central Florida

Lottie Watts
The Florida Channel
Kimberly Cruz of Tampa (far right) joined Gov. Rick Scott (far left), Florida Surgeon General John Armstrong (at podium) at the Hillsborough County Health Department on Feb. 4 for a Zika virus update.

Central Florida has gotten its first confirmed case of the travel-related Zika virus. Osceola County is one of seven Florida counties with CDC-confirmed cases. 

Here is a breakdown of where the 14 Zika cases have been confirmed by the Florida Department of Health, as of Friday.

  • Hillsborough: 3 cases
  • Miami-Dade: 5 cases
  • Lee: 2 cases
  • Santa Rosa: 1 case
  • Broward: 1 case
  • St. Johns: 1 case
  • Osceola: 1 case

The Zika virus is suspected of causing birth defects, and although that link has not been established, it has some pregnant women in Florida asking questions.
Kimberly Cruz of Tampa is six months pregnant with her first child. She’s planning to name him Alfredo. In November, she traveled to Mexico, one of the countries where Zika cases have been confirmed.

She wasn't sick during the trip, but said she's going to check with her doctor to see if she needs to be tested for Zika antibodies.

"I think I'll consult with my doctor, since she probably would know best,” Cruz said.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has asked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to send Zika test kits to Florida, especially for testing  pregnant women and new mothers who have traveled to affected areas and had symptoms of Zika.

Scott said testing is recommended but not required.  None of the Zika patients in Florida are pregnant women. Last week, he declared a health emergency in counties with the virus. Scott also asked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention for more equipment to test for Zika.

"Like in a hurricane, what we always say to ourselves is we're going to prepare for the worst, and hope for the best, and we're going to do everything we can to stay ahead of the Zika virus,” he said.

Reporter Abe Aboraya is part of WMFE in Orlando and reporter Lottie Watts is part of WUSF in Tampa. Health News Florida receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.
Lottie Watts covers health and health policy for Health News Florida, now a part of WUSF Public Media. She also produces Florida Matters, WUSF's weekly public affairs show.