TALLAHASSEE - The state of Florida has 12 cases of the Zika virus, all of them travel related. Florida Governor Rick Scott updated the public on the Zika virus Thursday asking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide testing kits to our state.
"We are requesting that the CDC provide us with at least 1,000 Zika antibody test kits, so we can test pregnant and new mothers who have traveled to affected areas and had symptoms of Zika," said the Governor.
Broward County has joined four other Florida counties on the Public Health Emergency list. Right now Florida has 448 kits to test people who currently have the virus, and the Governor is authorizing the Department of Health to purchase 4,000 more.
State Surgeon General John Armstrong says both tests are extremely important for mothers who traveled abroad and may have had symptoms. "I would like to know if I had Zika, that's going to be important for that patient, for the baby, and for the doctors providing care, so that's really the distinction between testing for the virus acutely, meaning you have active disease, and testing for antibodies, meaning you had Zika," Armstrong said.
According to the CDC, only 1 in 5 people infected with the virus, actually show symptoms, most of which are mild. Pregnant women are at the highest risk because of the danger of birth defects.
The Zika virus has spread rapidly in South America and with more than 800,000 Brazilians visiting our area a year, Governor Scott says we need to be prepared. "20.3 million people live in our state; I think we're going to have 100 million people visit this year. When people go anywhere they want to know that they're safe, so what they know when they come to Florida is that we're going to get ahead of this."