TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a health emergency in four counties due to the Zika virus Wednesday.
Scott signed the order Wednesday to cover the following counties:
- Santa Rosa
The order directs the State Health Officer and Surgeon General to "take any action necessary to protect the public health," from the virus. The order also authorizes the Commissioner of Agriculture to take action in the four counties regarding mosquitos - especially in residential areas.
Read the governor's full order here: http://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/pdfs/EO1629.pdf
At least nine cases of the mosquito-borne illness have been detected in Florida. Six of those cases were announced Tuesday.
Health officials believe all of the cases are from people who contracted the disease while traveling to affected countries. However, a case in Texas had been linked to sexual transmission.
The Zika virus is linked to brain deformities in babies and is causing concern among public health officials worldwide.
The virus is primarily spread through mosquito bites, but investigators had been exploring the possibility it could be sexually transmitted.
U.S. health officials say a person in Texas became infected with Zika through sex, in the first case of the illness being transmitted within the United States.