The population of mosquitoes in Florida is somewhat concerning to public health officials. In fact, many public health agencies are keeping a watchful eye on Florida and its mosquitoes for one reason: the Zika virus. This virus has already infection over 5100 people in the United States, and that number may only rise as summer nears.
Florida seems to be ground zero for Zika transmission right now. While most Americans who have been infected with Zika got it from traveling overseas, most of the cases acquired on US soil occurred in Florida. This has government officials in Florida concerned, and the Governor has ordered the evaluation of the preparedness of Florida to handle mosquitoes in the coming months, which happens to be the rainy season that mosquitoes thrive in. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are also involved in efforts to keep this virus at bay in the Sunshine State.
Last year Zika reared its ugly head in the Miami-Dade area, and health officials are trying to learn lessons from that outbreak to apply to this year. Local transmission is something they are working to focus on in order to help communicate areas of risk to the public – especially pregnant women — and understand which areas are hotbeds for Zika activity. They have expanded the Public Works programs in the area to help deal with the potential rise in Zika outbreaks this summer, setting more mosquito traps, using more chemicals to control mosquito populations. They fully expect more cases this summer, spreading outside the boundaries of Miami and expanding to the entire state.
If you live in Florida or plan to travel there, make sure to take extra precautions to keep from being bitten by mosquitoes. Wear appropriate clothing and make sure to use repellent. If you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant, you may want to avoid the state altogether.