FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 29, 2016
CONTACT: GOVERNOR’S PRESS OFFICE
Gov. Scott: With Likely Mosquito-Borne Zika Cases, State Will Use Full Resources to Protect Floridians
ORLANDO, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that the Florida Department of Health (DOH) has concluded that four cases of the Zika virus are likely mosquito-borne. DOH knows that the four cases are in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. One of these cases involves a woman and the other three cases involve men. At this time, DOH believes that active transmissions of the Zika virus are occurring in one small area in Miami-Dade County, just north of downtown. The exact location is within the boundaries of the following area: NW 5th Avenue to the west, US 1 to the east, NW/NE 38th Street to the north and NW/NE 20th Street to the south. This area is about 1 square mile and a map is below to detail the area. This is currently the only area of the state where DOH is testing to see if there are local transmissions of Zika. They are all active Zika cases and have not exhibited symptoms to be admitted to the hospital.
Governor Scott said, “We learned today that four people in our state likely have the Zika virus as a result of a mosquito bite. All four of these people live in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties and the Florida Department of Health believes that active transmissions of this virus could be occurring in one small area in Miami. While no mosquitoes have tested positive for the Zika virus, DOH is aggressively testing people in this area to ensure there are no other cases. If you live in this area and want to be tested, I urge you to contact the county health department which stands ready to assist you.
“Since our first travel-related case in February, Florida has taken an aggressive approach and committed state and local resources to combat this virus. Just like with a hurricane, we have worked hard to stay ahead of the spread of Zika and prepare for the worst, even as we hope for the best. Now that Florida has become the first state to have a local transmission, likely through a mosquito, we will continue to put every resource available to fighting the spread of Zika in our state. Last month, I used my emergency executive authority to allocate $26.2 million in state funds for Zika preparedness, prevention and response in Florida. I will continue to travel the state and speak with local leaders, ports and airports to ensure their needs are met. If it becomes clear more resources are needed, we will not hesitate to allocate them.
“We know this virus is most detrimental to expecting mothers. If you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant and live in the impacted area, I urge you to contact your OB/GYN for guidance and to receive a Zika Prevention kit. I also ask every Floridian to take proper precautions by eliminating any standing water and wearing insect repellent.
“Following today’s news, I directed the Department of Health to immediately begin contracting with commercial pest control companies to increase spraying and mosquito abatement efforts in the impacted area. We know from our experience with successfully dealing with other mosquito-borne viruses in our state that through constant surveillance and immediate action that we will protect our families and visitors. We will continue this same approach as we work to combat the Zika virus in our state. Florida is an outdoors state with pristine beaches, award-winning state parks and world class fishing. We continue to welcome record visitors to Florida and will remind everyone in our state to take proper precautions and wear insect repellent.”
Governor Scott has directed DOH to activate the Joint Information Center (JIC) within the State Emergency Operations Center to ensure impacted areas have coordinated access to information and resources. As part of this effort, Governor Scott has directed DOH to contract with commercial pest control companies to enhance and expand mosquito mitigation and abatement, including increased spraying, in the impacted areas.
Governor Scott has also directed DOH to do the following response activities:
· Provide $620,000 to OneBlood, the primary blood bank in the area, to establish appropriate blood screening. DOH will be working with FDA and blood establishments in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties to test each individual unit of blood collected. Additionally, statewide DOH will ensure safe blood for pregnant women by screening units from counties without Zika.
· Work with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to issue a Mosquito Declaration and ensure that Mosquito Control in the areas of concern have the resources they need to combat further local transmission. Miami-Dade and Broward County Mosquito Control Districts will receive $1.28 million in state funds through December to combat Zika.
· Continue investigations in concert with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure we learn all we can about Zika as an emerging disease.
· Coordinate with OB/GYNs and organizations that serve pregnant woman in the impacted area to distribute Zika prevention kits to pregnant women.
· Ongoing door-to-door outreach in the areas of concern with continued mosquito mitigation activities and repellant distribution.
· Partner with VISIT FLORIDA to distribute educational items, repellant and Zika Prevention Kits for pregnant women to visitor centers in the impacted areas.
· Partner with the Florida Department of Education to ensure that mosquito breeding source reduction and mitigation activities have occurred at all schools in Miami-Dade and Broward counties ahead of children returning to classes this fall.
Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Adam H. Putnam said, “We are dedicated to protecting Floridians and visitors from Zika and will continue to support mosquito control programs throughout Florida with their surveillance and control efforts. Floridians can do their part by draining standing water surrounding their homes, as it can serve as breeding grounds for the mosquitoes that are capable of transmitting the virus.”
Florida Surgeon General Dr. Celeste Philip said, “As with most emerging health threats, we learn more about Zika each day but we recognize that the unknown can be scary especially for pregnant women. We’re committed to sharing as much as we can as soon as we can. Our top priority is the safety and well-being of all people in Florida and a big part of that is being accessible. If you have questions, please call the Zika hotline at 1-855-622-6735.”