Gov. Rick Scott declared a health emergency in four counties Wednesday after at least nine cases of the mosquito-borne Zika illness were detected in Florida. Health officials believe none of the cases originated in Florida. All involve people who contracted the disease while traveling to affected countries, they say. Scott signed the order to cover Miami-Dade, Lee, Hillsborough and Santa Rosa counties. That’s where all of the cases were detected.
The order allows the state’s agriculture department to use mosquito spray more in those areas. It also directs the Florida Department of Health to make its own decisions about what’s needed from the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Zika virus, which is linked to a birth defect that causes brain deformities, primarily spreads through mosquito bites and rarely causes a severe illness in adults. FULL REPORT