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Florida, vulnerable to Zika virus, gets ready for fight

By Staff | Feb 5, 2016

MIAMI (AP) – Florida Gov. Rick Scott says the state has three new cases of Zika and he’s adding a fifth county to his health emergency declaration.

Scott declared a health emergency Wednesday in Miami-Dade, Lee, Hillsborough and Santa Rosa counties, adding Broward County Thursday.

Scott said Thursday at a news conference in Tampa that the 12 cases in Florida are all from people who became infected with the mosquito-borne virus when they traveled to other countries.

Florida’s warm climate, year-round mosquitoes and revolving door of international travelers make it vulnerable, but local governments have a history of fighting off similar viruses.

Scott says the state is preparing like it would for a hurricane and wants residents and tourists to know Florida is safe. He has asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 1,000 kits to test for Zika antibodies, on top of about 500 the state already has.