Zika virus: Separating fact from fiction

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HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – At last count there are 12 confirmed cases of the Zika virus in Florida.

Five counties, including Hillsborough, are now under a state of emergency. Before the last few weeks, many people had never even heard of the virus.

RELATED: Florida Zika Virus cases rise to 12; mosquito that carries virus common in state

News Channel 8 is separating fact from fiction to help you keep your family safe.

With 20 million residents and 100 million tourists, Florida is a prime place for the virus. In addition, Tampa and Miami are major hubs for international travel.

RELATED: Gov. Scott declares Zika Virus health emergency in Hillsborough, 3 other Florida counties

“We actually understand a lot about the virus,” says Dr. Michael Farzan, a researcher at the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter.

Scripps scientists have been researching the virus. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Zika is transmitted through mosquitoes.
  • The virus is typically found in Central America, South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
  • One person in Texas came down with Zika after having sex with someone who had the virus.
  • Pregnant women are most vulnerable because Zika can cause birth defects in unborn children. .
  • There are no vaccines or medications to treat the disease.
  • The symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes.
  • Zika cannot be cured, but treatment can help.
  • Zika can last days or even weeks.
  • Protect yourself by removing standing water, using insect repellent, and making sure there are screens on your doors and windows.

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