Gov. Rick Scott headed to Miami to talk Zika with Florida Department of Health officials Monday, making sure Florida is locked and loaded to fight off the Zika virus.
Florida currently does not have any identified areas with active Zika transmission, but the summer months create a prime environment for mosquitoes to thrive and transmit the virus due to heavy rains and hot temperatures.
Those reasons, Scott said, were part of the reason Florida must be vigilant in its efforts to prevent the spread of the virus.
“It is also important that all Floridians do their part to dump standing water and wear bug spray in order to help fight the spread of Zika,” Scott said.
The governor pledged to continue work with the federal government to fend off the virus as the summer months wear on.
“We will continue to remain in contact with our federal and state partners and we remain fully committed to doing everything we can to protect our families and visitors,” he said.
Mosquitoes began transmitting the Zika virus in Florida last summer, with the primary source of infections occurring in the South Florida and Miami-Dade area. Florida and the Centers for Disease Control worked overtime to eradicate the virus, which can cause birth defects in unborn babies.
Eighty percent of people infected with the virus show no symptoms.
Government officials said they’ve had time to learn and react to the Zika virus which is partially why there have been so few cases seen this year.
“We have learned a lot about how to prepare for and respond to the Zika virus over the past year and it is crucial that we continue to work with our state and federal partners to keep protecting our communities,” said Dr. Celeste Philip. “I appreciate Governor Scott for his leadership in this ongoing fight and the county health departments and mosquito control districts that traveled here today to further discuss ways we can combat the Zika virus in Florida.”
Far fewer cases of Zika have been reported this year compared to last spring. Broward County currently has the highest number of travel-related Zika cases this year, with 10 reported cases as of last month.