Zika virus cases reported in Florida up to 20

AP file photo

MIAMI – Health officials say 20 cases of the Zika virus have been reported in Florida.

The Florida Department of Health announced the new total Friday afternoon. Seven cases were reported in Miami-Dade County, and three each were reported in Broward, Hillsborough and Lee counties. Alachua, Osceola, Santa Rosa and St. Johns counties have each reported a single case. Officials say all cases are travel-associated.

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Zika is rapidly spreading through Latin America, and scientists are studying its possible connection to babies born with unusually small heads, a defect called microcephaly that can signal underlying brain damage.

The virus can be spread by bites from mosquitoes that are common in Florida.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hosted a conference call Thursday with Florida health care professionals. Nearly 600 phone lines dialed in to participate.

Gov. Rick Scott announced a new Zika information hotline for people with questions. The number is (855) 622-6735.

READ MORE ABOUT THE ZIKA VIRUS:

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