Confirmed Zika Case in North Florida

Courtesy of  Medical Daily

As the Zika Virus continues to spread in the United States, there has now been one confirmed case in North Florida. 

Florida Governor Rick Scott has declared a health emergency for five counties as 12 Zika virus cases have been confirmed in the state. One case is in Santa Rosa County, just 144 miles west of Tallahassee.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention this is one of the 12 travel related cases in the state.

The case was confirmed at Gulf Breeze Hospital.

Santa Rosa County Public Information Officer Brandi Whitehurst said, “The Santa Rosa County mosquito control staff is aware of the virus and they’re doing their part to control the population.”

Santa Rosa county officials say they are working closely with the mosquito technicians monitoring traps and treating standing water. Waterways are being treated with a native plains fish, gambusia affinis, a fish used to control mosquito larvae in wetlands. The county normally begins spraying liquid larvicide products throughout the county in March or April when temperatures are known to consistently remain above the 60 degrees.  

Florida State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John H. Armstrong along with Scott recognizes that the state of Florida is home to similar mosquitos that are known to carry similar diseases such as the West Nile Virus.

At a press conference Wednesday, Scott said, “Fortunately right now we only have cases in our state of individuals that have traveled to other countries and come to our state but I want to make sure we’re ready and prepared.”

Scott said the best way to stay on top of the virus is to stay ahead of it. When Scott declared the state of Health Emergency he announced he is treating this as he would a hurricane.

Yet there are no cases in Tallahassee. Tallahassee residents have begun to voice their concerns to local doctors.

Southeastern Center for Infectious Diseases have seen an increase in questions in their weekly clinic regarding the Zika virus.

Infectious Disease Doctor, Tameka Funny says, “If you’re not planning to conceive or carry a child, use normal precautions while traveling.”

The CDC says the best way to help reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes, take the following steps:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

  • Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.

  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. All EPA-registered insect repellents are evaluated for effectiveness.

    • Always follow the product label instructions

    • Reapply insect repellent as directed.

    • Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.

    • If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent.

  • If you have a baby or child:

    • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age.

    • Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs, or

    • Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.

    • Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.

    • Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.

  • Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items.

    • Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See product information to learn how long the protection will last.

    • If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.

    • Do NOT use permethrin products directly on skin. They are intended to treat clothing.