Florida now ready to test mosquitoes for Zika virus

- The Florida Department of Agriculture will begin testing mosquitoes for the Zika virus.

Commissioner Adam Putnam announced Tuesday that a department laboratory in Kissimmee is now equipped to test for the virus.

The same laboratory is used to test for animal diseases. The department is working with mosquito control districts to distribute traps and train them on how to submit samples.

Department spokeswoman Jennifer Meale said testing would begin within two weeks.

Florida leads the nation with 102 confirmed cases of the disease.

Zika has become epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean. The virus is mainly spread through mosquito bites and causes mild illness or no symptoms in most people. But it can cause a severe birth defect in which babies are born with abnormally small heads.

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