Zika virus

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. 

Lottie Watts/WUSF / WUSF

Gov. Rick Scott added a fifth Florida county to a public health emergency declaration over the Zika virus on Thursday, and asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for training and other assistance.

Broward joins Miami-Dade, Hillsborough, Lee and Santa Rosa counties as where cases of the mosquito-borne illness have been found. All of the cases are travel related.

  Gov. Rick Scott has declared a health emergency in five Florida counties with a dozen confirmed cases of the travel-acquired Zika virus: Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Lee and Santa Rosa.

Long before this most recent outbreak, mosquito control officers across Florida have been on the front lines, trying to keep at bay diseases such as Zika, chikungunya and dengue. 

Mario Stevenson is a respected virus expert. He heads the infectious diseases division at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine. He’s done pioneering research on HIV.

But until last year he’d barely registered Zika.

“Four months ago,” Stevenson told me, “I thought Zika was an Italian football player.”

A patient acquired Zika virus in the U.S. through sex with a person who had traveled to a place where the virus is circulating, Dallas County, Texas, health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday.

This is not the first time that the virus has been sexually transmitted, and it most likely isn't the first time it's been sexually transmitted in the U.S.

(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.

The outbreak of Zika virus in Brazil and other countries has raised concern that the pathogen could start spreading widely in the United States, as well. But federal health officials and other infectious disease specialists say so far that seems unlikely.

The rapid spread of the Zika virus has raised interest in a British company that has developed a genetically modified mosquito. Oxitec has produced a genetically engineered line of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the mosquito that carries dengue fever and chikungunya. Those tropical diseases have become common in Latin America and are now showing up in Florida.

Aedes aegypti also carries Zika, a disease whose symptoms include fever, like dengue. It has also been linked to a birth defect, microcephaly in children born to women infected with Zika.

Health Officials: 3 In Florida Have Zika Virus

Jan 20, 2016

The Florida Department of Health has confirmed three cases of Zika virus in Florida, including two in Miami-Dade County and one in Hillsborough County.

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