Florida tourism industry worries about Zika impact

- Concerns of contracting Zika virus could be on the minds of more than just U.S. travelers going abroad this season. The Centers for Disease Control warns, by the start of summer, southern parts of the United States, including Florida, may become a new home for the Zika-carrying mosquito.

"It lives indoors and outdoors. It bites during the daytime and nightime. It's eggs can last for more than a year," said Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the CDC.

Many Florida leaders, including Governor Rick Scott, are backing a $1.9 billion plan to fund fighting zika through next year.

"We don't know how much the Zika virus is going to cost yet. This is a preliminary down payment on an issue that can get worse. Hopefully it doesn't, and hopefully we are dealing with it on the front end," said Senator Marco Rubio.

"This is a public health emergency. We've got to do everything we can to prevent it," said Representative U.S. Kathy Castor of Florida.

Castor added, fears of contracting Zika could play a role in keeping people from vacationing in the sunshine state this summer, especially if tourists don't see a major effort to control the mosquito population and keep people safe.

"It would have very dire consequences on Florida's tourism and economy. People are very discerning with their tourism dollars. They get online and search, and they can go to the mountains or go over seas just as easily as they can plan their Florida vacations," said Castor.

Some members of the House of Representatives have held off on voting in favor of the proposed Zika funding, instead suggesting that funding should come from a portion of the money currently dedicated to fighting Ebola.

"It's really unconscionable that the Congress has now adjourned for the Memorial Day weekend without providing the funds," added Castor.

There were 123 people in the state of Florida with Zika at the end of May. Of those cases, 37 were pregnant women. Each person was infected through travel or sexual contact. No cases of Zika being contracted from mosquitos in the United States had been confirmed

State workers ordered more than 300 mosquito traps, but only half of them had arrived due to a nationwide backlog.

In the vast majority of cases, Zika is not a danger to those who are not pregnant or trying to conceive. In two rare instances, it has been linked to neurological conditions in adults.

The virus is known to cause birth defects, such as abnormally small heads and developmental disabilities, in infants.

The CDC had not issued a travel moratorium to parts of the world already dealing with Zika mosquitos.

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