U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Matthew Gable held on for 10 weeks after his mom’s water broke at less than halfway through the pregnancy.

CDC Briefs Florida Doctors As Zika Cases Rise

Feb 15, 2016
WMFE

Amid an increase of travel-related Zika cases in Florida, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention briefed Florida health care providers on the virus.

Study Finds Zika Virus In Fetal Brain, A Clue In Outbreak

Feb 11, 2016
Susan Walsh/Associated Press

New details about the possible effects of the Zika virus on the fetal brain emerged Wednesday as U.S. health officials say mosquito eradication here and abroad is key to protect pregnant women until they can develop a vaccine.

CDC Sends Zika Test Kits To Florida

Feb 10, 2016
Lottie Watts/WUSF / WUSF

Federal health officials have sent the state of Florida an additional 950 kits to test for viral antibodies in people who have shown Zika symptoms after traveling to affected countries.

Gov. Rick Scott’s office released a statement Tuesday saying none of the 16 Zika cases confirmed in Florida were contracted in the state, and none involve pregnant women.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

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. 

(Courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Six new cases of travel-related Zika were confirmed this week in Florida.

That’s according to the Florida Department of Health, which reported the cases to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.  That brings the number of Florida cases to nine total, none of them in pregnant women. All are believed to be contracted by someone traveling outside of Florida.

UN Health Chief: Zika Virus Is 'Spreading Explosively'

Feb 1, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

Declaring that the Zika virus is "spreading explosively," the World Health Organization announced it will hold an emergency meeting of independent experts Monday to decide if the outbreak should be declared an international health emergency.

WMFE

A new Florida law kicking in today makes getting an HIV test easier. Doctors no longer need written consent to give patients an HIV test in health care settings, like doctor’s offices and hospitals.

The law could have a big impact in Florida, which has more new HIV infections than anywhere else in the country.

Jesse Fry is a policy analyst with the AIDS Institute in Tallahassee. He said an estimated 18,000 Floridians have HIV and don’t know they have the virus, according to the institute. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Florida's top health official could soon have expanded powers to isolate people suspected of being infected with severe diseases.

The Florida Legislature on Thursday sent to Gov. Rick Scott a bill that would bolster the power of the State Surgeon General to place people suspected or likely having a disease into isolation and quarantine. The measure was unanimously passed by both the House and Senate.

The legislation also would allow state health officials to use police to enforce an order.

The U.S. health care apparatus is so unprepared and short on resources to deal with the deadly Ebola virus that even small clusters of cases could overwhelm parts of the system, according to an Associated Press review of readiness at hospitals and other components of the emergency medical network.

Experts broadly agree that a widespread outbreak across the country is extremely unlikely, but they also concur that it is impossible to predict with certainty, since previous Ebola epidemics have been confined to remote areas of Africa.

Associated Press

Gov. Rick Scott defended his decision to monitor anyone coming from Ebola-affected countries, saying Monday it's "the right thing to do" to protect Floridians. 

Appearing beside New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at a campaign event in Wellington, Scott said his executive order would ensure that the state wards off an outbreak and goes beyond actions by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"I want to make sure that ... we don't do what CDC did — they got behind," he said. "We're not going to get behind. We're going to be prepared."

 Officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will hold a conference call today on Ebola preparedness and training with Florida hospitals.

Gov. Rick Scott said Saturday that the call scheduled Monday afternoon will provide guidance for proper use of personal protective equipment, safe handling of medical waste and effective clinical strategies within hospitals.

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.

Following hours of debate, Wellington’s city council voted 3-2 late Tuesday to stop adding fluoride to its drinking water, the Palm Beach Post reports.

The village, which is known for hosting international polo and equestrian events, has been using fluoride for 14 years, ever since public health authorities reached consensus that it was safe and prevented tooth decay, especially in children.