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.
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.
“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.