3 cases of Zika virus confirmed in Florida

Posted at 12:59 PM, Jan 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-20 06:12:43-05
The Florida Department of Health has confirmed a case of Zika virus in Hillsborough County and two in Miami-Dade County.
According to official, the person who has tested positive for the virus in Hillsborough County recently traveled to Venezuela and two Miami-Dade County residents traveled to Colombia in December.
Currently, all confirmed cases of mosquitos transmitting Zika virus have occurred outside the US, most commonly in South America.  So health officials are encouraging you to avoid travelto that area if possible, especially if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. 
"There's a birth defect we're seeing in Brazil that may possibly be related back to the Zika Virus," said Steve Huard, spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County.

While mosquitos in Florida are not known to transmit Zika virus, there's still a heightened concern right now about other mosquito born illnesses, like West Nile.

"We've been under a mosquito advisory since the beginning of the summer and we're still under that advisory.  We haven't had a hard enough freeze or cold enough weather at this juncture in the year to kill off really any mosquitos," Huard said.

Health experts say that's why it's important to wear bug spray when going outdoors for extended periods, and to drain standing water from your property. 

The WPTV webteam contributed to this report.


What is Zika Virus?
  • Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes.  The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. 
  • Outbreaks of Zika have occurred in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the Americas. 
  • There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika. 
  • Travelers can protect themselves from this disease by taking steps to prevent mosquito bites.
- Info provided by the CDC