Florida Governor Declares Public Health Emergency in Four Counties

Florida Governor Declares Public Health Emergency in Four Counties © REUTERS/ Ivan Alvarado

03:19 04.02.2016Get short URL

Florida Governor Rick Scott signed an executive order on Wednesday declaring a public health emergency in four counties in his state where at least nine people have fallen victim to the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — In recent weeks, fears of the virus’ spread has risen as the World Health Organization declared a global emergency amid the rapid advance of Zika in the Americas, Caribbean and Pacific.

“Today I am directing Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong to declare a public health emergency in the four counties that have individuals with the Zika virus,” Scott said in a statement on Wednesday.

Nine travel-related cases of the Zika virus have been reported in the counties of Miami-Dade, Hillsborough, Lee and Santa Rosa Counties. Officials said they believe the virus in these cases was contracted outside of Florida.

Governor Scott also directed Florida’s surgeon general to immediately inform its commissioner of agriculture of the virus threat to public health and that “special attention for mosquito sprays” should be given to residents in those affected areas.

To date, there is no known vaccine to treat the Zika virus, which is thought to pose the greatest risk to unborn fetuses as it is suspected of causing severe brain damage in newborns known as microcephaly.

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