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Zika Cases Continue To Increase In Florida


Florida has had 66 reported cases of the mosquito-borne Zika virus this year, with the number increasing slightly during the past three weeks, according to information posted on the state Department of Health website.

The 66 cases reported as of Tuesday all are considered “travel” related --- generally meaning people were infected with the virus elsewhere and brought it into the state. The total was up from 62 on Aug. 13.

Collier County had reported 25 cases as of Tuesday, while Miami-Dade County had the next-highest total at 16 cases. Orange County had nine reported cases, while other cases were reported in Broward, Palm Beach, Lee, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Osceola, Hernando and Walton counties.

The disease, which caused major concerns in 2016, is particularly dangerous to pregnant women because it can cause severe birth defects.

Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus have also been a concern this year.

Last week public health officials confirmed a third person on the First Coast had been infected with the West Nile virus, with two of those cases reported in Duval County.

The Nassau County health department also confirmed a case of the mosquito-borne West Nile disease in August and in July Clay County Mosquito Control reported some samplings of mosquitoes in the Keystone Heights area had tested positive for West Nile.

Clay County officials offer the following suggestions to guard against mosquito bites:

  • Dusk/Dawn are the times of day you should try to stay indoors. This is when infected mosquitos are most active.
  • Dress in long sleeves and long pants when outside. For extra protection, you may want to spray thin clothing with repellent.
  • DEET is an ingredient to look for in your insect repellent. Follow label instructions and always wear repellent when outdoors.
  • Drain standing water in your backyard and neighborhood – old tires, flower pots, clogged rain gutters, etc.  These are mosquito breeding sites.