As you know, news around the Zika virus is evolving quickly. Today, Gov. Rick Scott signed an executive order to declare a public health emergency in four counties, including Miami-Dade, due to the Zika virus. At least nine cases of the mosquito-borne illness have now been confirmed in the state — four of those in Miami-Dade County. All of these cases are believed to have been contracted abroad, and none involve pregnant women. “Although Florida’s current nine Zika cases were travel-related, we have to ensure Florida is prepared and stays ahead of the spread of the Zika virus in our state,” said Gov. Scott in announcing the order. His action allows the state’s agriculture department to provide additional mosquito control measures in affected areas. It also directs the Florida Department of Health to make determinations as to what resources and information are needed in the state to combat the spread of Zika.
Earlier this week, health officials in Texas reported that the first known case of Zika contracted in the United States was a person infected after sexual contact with somebody who had become infected abroad. The CDC is working to learn more about how the virus can be transmitted.
Just as the state and CDC are taking measures to stay ahead of the virus and educate people as much as possible- so should we. Our community looks to us as a resource for education and reassurance, and I want you to know that we are doing all we can to learn about this virus and prepare for the safety of our employees and patients.
Personally, we can all take measures to protect ourselves by avoiding mosquitoes. To learn more about the CDC’s recommendations, click here. The most important thing about this declaration of a public health emergency is that it is based on the uncertainty of this situation. For example, when we communicated last on this, there was no documented person-to-person transmission, now there has been. Things are going to likely change from day to day and week to week for some time to come. As a system, we continue to follow national and international guidance, and work closely with the health department to ensure we have the latest information and protocols. At this point, we are not activating our incident command centers, but we are following this situation very closely. As always, we’ll keep you informed.