Broward Added to Zika Emergency List as Miami-Dade Steps Up Prevention Efforts

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who has declared a health emergency over the Zika virus, announced three new cases Thursday and added Broward County to the list of affected regions.

One new case is located in Broward, while the other two are in Miami-Dade and Hillsborough, Scott said during a news conference.

There had previously been nine travel-associated cases of the Zika virus in Florida. Health officials believe all patients contracted the mosquito-borne disease while traveling to affected countries.

Scott declared a health emergency in four Florida counties on Wednesday. Broward's addition makes five.

At Thursday's news conference, Scott called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to take action to ensure Florida is prepared for the possible spread of Zika.

He also asked for at least 1,000 Zika antibody tests and said the state currently has the capacity to test only 475 people.

[NATL] Global Health Officials Scramble to Fight Zika Virus

Miami-Dade health inspectors spent Thursday spreading awareness about Zika, along with mosquito prevention crews, who are also stepping up their efforts. 

Crews were out Thursday morning at a Westchester home looking for little things that hold standing water, like candle holders. A small amount of water is all it takes for mosquitos to multiply, according to the Miami-Dade County Department of Solid Waste Management.

"While we certainly have a proactive mosquito control program in Miami-Dade County, we can’t possibly be everywhere at once," deputy county mayor and DSWM Director Alina Hudak said in a statement. "That’s why it’s important for residents to check their properties and ensure there is no standing water, where mosquitoes can breed."

Miami-Dade Mosquito Control Crews said this time of year is not usually busy they've seen more calls because of the Zika virus.

"Around this time of year, we normally receive and average of maybe two or three calls a day, yesterday we received 56. That's a huge difference," said Chalmers Vasquez with Miami-Dade Public Works.

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