ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Florida Governor Rick Scott and State Surgeon General Celeste Philip stopped in Brevard and Orange counties on Tuesday to ease concerns about the spread of the Zika virus in Florida.
Currently, according to the Centers for Disease Control, there are 454 travel related cases in Florida, and its the only state with locally transmitted cases.
“To put it in perspective we’ve got 43 cases of non travel related Zika,” said Gov. Scott. "That’s out of 20.6 million residents, and over 60 million tourists."
Leaders in Florida’s tourism industry who attended are closely monitoring the state’s response to the Zika threat. CEO John Murray says 4 million passengers board cruise ships from Port Canaveral each year.
“I can tell you our cruise customers are all aggressive in making sure our passengers are aware of the virus, and taking appropriate precautions,” said Murray.
Gov. Scott says he’s set aside $26.2 million to fund efforts to control Zika’s spread in Florida, which includes testing kits, mosquito spraying, and Zika educational campaigns. Dr. Phillip advises all Florida residents use mosquito repellant whenever they go outside, and make sure they get rid of standing water around their homes. In addition, she says all men should use contraception for eight weeks after returning from overseas.
“If we all work together and give this attention every day, we can disrupt Zika,” said Dr. Philip.
Gov. Scott says he’s going to Washington, DC to ask for federal assistance with Zika control. In 2014, the governor also asked President Obama to ban travel from countries impacted by the Ebola epidemic. FOX 35 asked him if he would make the same request for Zika.
“There’s not one on the table,” responded the governor.
Scott is flying to DC on Tuesday, Sept. 6, and then has a busy itinerary on Wednesday, meeting with congressional leaders.