Thursday, June 21, 2018
Health

New case of Zika reported in Hillsborough County

TAMPA — Five new cases of the Zika virus were reported Tuesday in Florida, including one in Hillsborough County.

All five were the result of foreign travel, according to the Florida Department of Health. The other cases were in Escambia, Osceola, Palm Beach and Seminole counties.

The Hillsborough resident caught the virus while traveling to the Dominican Republic. In all, more than 170 Florida residents have contracted the virus after traveling abroad, including eight cases in the Tampa Bay area.

"As awareness about Zika continues to grow and summer travel increases, it is not surprising that we are seeing more cases," said Mara Gambineri, the health department's communications director.

Zika is transmitted by mosquito bites but can also be sexually transmitted. It has been linked to birth defects.

Gov. Rick Scott this week warned that rainfall from Tropical Storm Colin could result increase the state's mosquito population, exacerbating the risk from Zika. He criticized Congress for failing to allocate additional funding to fight the virus.

"The federal government is not doing their part," Scott said during a visit Tuesday to thank first responders in Tampa.

Department of Health officials have urged Floridians to drain standing water at least weekly to deny mosquitoes a breeding ground. Residents and visitors are also advised to use bug repellents when outdoors.

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