Friday, December 15, 2017
Health

Pinellas County has its first Zika case; brings Florida total to 107

The first case of Zika has been recorded in Pinellas County, the state Department of Health said Monday. The person who contracted the virus had recently traveled to the Dominican Republic.

The Pinellas case — along with a case that was reported Monday in Orange County — brings the total number in Florida to 107. All have been related to travel abroad.

The Zika virus can be troubling for women who are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant. Federal health officials recently concluded it can cause babies to be born with birth defects, including an abnormally small head and underdeveloped brain.

Most other people, however, won't show any symptoms.

To date, Zika has been most prevalent in Latin America and the Caribbean, where it is spread locally by mosquitoes. But experts warn mosquitoes could soon transmit the virus in the United States, and Florida in particular.

Public officials in the Tampa Bay area say they are paying close attention to the mosquito population. They are also taking steps to kill those insects that could carry Zika.

The 107 cases reported in Florida account for nearly 25 percent of all cases nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All of the cases were travel associated; 10 were transmitted sexually by someone who had recently been abroad.

Later this week, Gov. Rick Scott will travel to Washington to meet with federal lawmakers on the subject. He will urge them to execute "a robust plan to prevent and combat the spread of Zika in America."

There is reason to take immediate action, he said in a statement.

"We are now headed into summer, when heat and rainfall cause our mosquito population to grow," he said. "Simultaneously, the Olympic games in Brazil will heavily increase travel to a country where the Zika virus is spreading rapidly."

Times staff writer Dan Sullivan contributed to this report. Contact Kathleen McGrory at [email protected] or (727) 893-8330. Follow @kmcgrory.

Comments
City Council sinks deal to alter ownership of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg

City Council sinks deal to alter ownership of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — After months of tense negotiations and weeks of political impasse, the City Council on Thursday derailed a proposal that would have changed the ownership structure of the city’s largest hospital, Bayfront Health St. Petersburg.The 5-...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Florida hospitals call for more funding in effort to address looming doctor shortage

Florida hospitals call for more funding in effort to address looming doctor shortage

The number of doctors practicing in Florida has not kept up with the state’s surging population growth, and more money is needed to recruit and keep them here, hospital leaders said Wednesday.The shortage is particularly acute in four speciality area...
Published: 12/13/17
An overlooked epidemic: Older Americans taking too many unneeded drugs

An overlooked epidemic: Older Americans taking too many unneeded drugs

Consider it America’s other prescription drug epidemic.For decades, experts have warned that older Americans are taking too many unnecessary drugs, often prescribed by multiple doctors, for dubious or unknown reasons. Researchers estimate that 25 per...
Published: 12/13/17
How is Florida’s health? Not so great, report says

How is Florida’s health? Not so great, report says

Florida slightly improved its national standing this year, rising from 36th to 32nd overall in the annual America’s Health Rankings report. But the takeaway for the nation’s third-largest state is that it has a long way to go in many important health...
Published: 12/12/17
Driven by demand, Planned Parenthood opens second clinic in Tampa

Driven by demand, Planned Parenthood opens second clinic in Tampa

The floor-to-ceiling glass windows are heavily tinted and the inside is hidden behind rows of curtains. Security cameras monitor every corner, and only patients with an appointment and valid identification can pass through the intentionally cramped e...
Published: 12/12/17
Video: Jimmy Kimmel holds his baby son, post-heart surgery, in emotional health-care monologue

Video: Jimmy Kimmel holds his baby son, post-heart surgery, in emotional health-care monologue

Jimmy Kimmel was absent from his ABC late-night show last week while his 8-month-old son, Billy, recovered from his second heart surgery. Ever since Billy was born with a heart defect and required immediate surgery, Kimmel has become an outspoken adv...
Published: 12/12/17
Record numbers are signing up for Obamacare in Florida as enrollment period draws to a close

Record numbers are signing up for Obamacare in Florida as enrollment period draws to a close

With just four days left to enroll for health insurance on the federal exchange, advocates for the Affordable Care Act say Florida is headed for a record-breaking year. In week five of the six-week open enrollment period, about 823,180 people signed ...
Published: 12/12/17
A boy shares the pain of being bullied - inspiring thousands to show him love (w/video)

A boy shares the pain of being bullied - inspiring thousands to show him love (w/video)

While fighting back tears, young Keaton Jones couldn’t stop asking one question: Why?"Just out of curiosity, why do they bully? What’s the point of it?" he asks his mother while in the passenger seat of a parked car. "Why do you find joy in taking in...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Legalization of marijuana for adults poses problems for people dealing with teens

Legalization of marijuana for adults poses problems for people dealing with teens

WESTMINSTER, Calif. — After Yarly Raygoza attended the drug prevention program at the Boys & Girls Club here last year, she used what she learned to talk a few friends out of using marijuana.The 14-year-old took the class again this year but worries ...
Published: 12/10/17
Millions gained coverage since Obamacare, but many are worse off as premiums soar

Millions gained coverage since Obamacare, but many are worse off as premiums soar

As open enrollment for Affordable Care Act coverage nears the deadline of Dec. 15, and Florida once again leads all states using the federal exchange at healthcare.gov, Heidi and Richard Reiter sit at the kitchen table at their Davie home and struggl...
Published: 12/10/17