Monday, October 15, 2018
News Roundup

Zika is a threat that Florida hasn’t taken seriously, study finds

Miami was ground zero during the peak of Zika outbreaks in the U.S. in 2016, which made Florida residents more susceptible than others to contracting the virus.

While Floridians were nearly twice as likely as residents in other states to take precautions against the mosquito-borne virus, fewer than half did, according to a new study.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania released the results of the study Wednesday. It examined the response to the Zika outbreak in adults in Florida compared to those living elsewhere in the U.S.

The findings suggest that greater community-level education is needed to trigger a broader response to a public health threat such as Zika, a news release said.

Zika infections pose "unprecedented challenges to public health" as the illness can cause birth defects in infants and is transmitted not only by mosquitoes, but sexually through a partner who is infected.

"People need to understand that by protecting themselves from the virus, they’re protecting everyone from the virus," lead author Kenneth M. Winneg and managing director of survey research at APPC said in a statement. "It’s not enough to have the people who are most at risk protecting themselves. You need the entire community involved."

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: The Zika threat has waned. But with summer rains on the way, officials still urge caution.

Floridians were generally more informed than others about Zika, the study said, and were twice as a likely to express "at least moderate feelings" of being at risk of infection. Florida residents also were more likely than those from other states to know that Zika doesn’t always produce noticeable symptoms, but could cause severe birth defects.

Floridians were twice as likely to say they had taken steps in the past three months to protect themselves from Zika, compared to people from other states.

But 55 percent of Floridians took no preventive action. Even families in Florida who had a member at risk of becoming pregnant did not take any more action to prevent Zika than non-Florida households, the study said.

"Many people may not have expected the symptoms to be personally harmful, and this might have reduced the response to Zika," study co-author Dan Romer and APPC research director said in a statement.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Whatever happened to the Zika epidemic?

The study was published in the journal Risk Analysis, and was conducted by researchers at APPC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was based on national surveys of more than 12,000 adults in the U.S., with an oversample of Florida residents, taken from Aug. 8 to Oct. 3, 2016.

The Florida Department of Health reports 47 cases of the mosquito-borne illness so far this year, with no local cases or current active zones. That means there are no known instances of mosquitoes carrying the virus.

Last year, Florida saw 262 cases of Zika, with two developing locally and 225 travel-related cases. Of those, 136 were pregnant women and three babies were born in the state with congenital Zika syndrome. Compare that to 2016, when there were 1,471 cases of Zika in Florida with 300 local cases, 1,122 travel cases and 299 pregnant women affected by the virus.

As of June, no local inspectors are operating under any "special response" to Zika because there are no reported outbreaks in counties around Tampa Bay.

There’s still no vaccine for Zika, nor is there medicine to treat those who are infected, which makes the virus dangerous and contagious, especially to pregnant women. Infants infected with Zika while still in the womb can suffer severe birth defects, including brain damage.

Contact Justine Griffin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.

Comments
Sports Illustrated: Rays were baseball’s ‘most consequential’ team in 2018

Sports Illustrated: Rays were baseball’s ‘most consequential’ team in 2018

They won't win the World Series. And they didn't even make the playoffs.Yet, the Rays were baseball's "most consequential baseball team" this season, according to Sports Illustrated.The opener strategy first employed by the Rays presents "the biggest...
Updated: 2 hours ago
In Cape San Blas, a wary walk to find out what Hurricane Michael left behind

In Cape San Blas, a wary walk to find out what Hurricane Michael left behind

CAPE SAN BLAS — On the kind of sunny, no-clouds-in-the-sky day that usually brings tourists and dogs to frolic on the sand dunes, residents instead trekked over broken asphalt, alongside a leveled beach, on a pilgrimage to find out what was lef...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Royal baby: Prince Harry, Meghan Markle expecting child in spring

Royal baby: Prince Harry, Meghan Markle expecting child in spring

LONDON — Prince Harry and his wife the Duchess of Sussex are expecting a child in the spring, Kensington Palace said Monday. The announcement came as Harry and the former Meghan Markle arrived in Sydney at the start of a 16-day visit to Australia, Fi...
Updated: 3 hours ago
The Daystarter: How Cape San Blas weathered Michael; Medicare’s first day of open enrollment; Bucs stumble in Atlanta

The Daystarter: How Cape San Blas weathered Michael; Medicare’s first day of open enrollment; Bucs stumble in Atlanta

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• We’ll have partly cloudy skies today, according to the National Weather Service. Highs will be in the upper 80s and low 90s.• As you head out for your morning commute, check out our l...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Clearwater is latest battleground for strong mayor initiative opponent

Clearwater is latest battleground for strong mayor initiative opponent

CLEARWATER — Beth Rawlins has done this before.As movements have surfaced across Florida to transform governments run by appointed city managers to put daily authority in the hands of mayors, it was often Rawlins who would show up. She has been preac...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Sears files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid plunging sales, massive debt

Sears files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid plunging sales, massive debt

NEW YORK — Sears has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, buckling under its massive debt load and staggering losses. Sears once dominated the American retail landscape. But the big question is whether the shrunken version of itself can be via...
Updated: 4 hours ago
PolitiFact Florida: No evidence that Andrew Gillum is running from FBI

PolitiFact Florida: No evidence that Andrew Gillum is running from FBI

A Republican ad portrays Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum as a man on the run from law enforcement amid an FBI corruption investigation in his city."Andrew Gillum is running for governor and also from the FBI," the Republican Party of Florida ad says....
Published: 10/15/18

Hooper: Salute solutionists, leaders who invest in action

Solutionists.The word recently popped up in a conversation with a friend and it struck a chord. I call them doers, but I like solutionists even more. Instead of just talking about issues, they take action.In the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, ...
Published: 10/15/18
Dear Penny: My fiance spends his student loan refund like it doesn’t cost interest

Dear Penny: My fiance spends his student loan refund like it doesn’t cost interest

Dear Penny,I’ve been working full time for five years and have slowly learned to budget as I’ve clawed my way through student loans and credit card debt, which I’m still not out of. This year, I am also saving for my wedding. After that, I want to st...
Published: 10/15/18
‘The Conners’ return to TV without Roseanne this week

‘The Conners’ return to TV without Roseanne this week

The Conners will be trudging along without matriarch and star Roseanne Barr.The remaining cast members of the Roseanne spinoff have been leaning on one another in the wake of ABC’s firing of Barr in May after she made a racist remark on Twitter.Nary ...
Published: 10/15/18