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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Scott talks Zika with Hillsborough County health officials

Gov. Rick Scott talks to health officials in Tampa on Thursday.

Chris O’Donnell | Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Rick Scott talks to health officials in Tampa on Thursday.

Gov. Rick Scott met with Hillsborough County health officials Thursday to discuss Zika preparedness.

Newly appointed state Surgeon General Celeste Philip and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera also attended the meeting.

Scott has spent the last several weeks raising concerns about the mosquito-borne virus, which is spreading across South and Central America and the Caribbean. The Republican governor recently sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking for more than 5,000 Zika preparedness kits, spraying equipment and mosquito traps, as well as funding for more city and county mosquito control workers and an expanded outreach program.

So far, 172 people in Florida have been diagnosed with Zika, including 38 pregnant women, according to the state health department. All had recently traveled to countries where the virus is prevalent.

While there is no evidence that mosquitos in the United States are carrying the virus, public health experts believe local transmission could happen later this summer. Most people who contract Zika show no symptoms. Pregnant women, however, can give birth to babies with severe birth defects.

[Last modified: Thursday, June 9, 2016 11:47am]

    

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