Local leaders hold Zika meetings, request federal funds

Leaders in Miami-Dade and Broward counties met on Monday to strategize ways to protect the public from the Zika virus.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., met with Hollywood Mayor Peter Bober to discuss how everyone in the Sunshine State can protect themselves against the virus. Wasserman Schultz said she is urging Congress to pass a law that would provide $1.9 billion in emergency federal funding to help combat the virus.

At a news conference, the congresswoman said steps need to be taken to help stop the spread of the virus before the start of the rainy season. “This is a crisis that will not wait for the slow wheels of Washington to turn,” she said. “I’m fighting to ensure that hospitals, medical teams and universities have the full resources they need to slow, stop and eventually end this virus, including funding to expedite a vaccine.”

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez is expected to discuss mosquito control efforts across the county. Florida Gov. Rick Scott also supports the allotment of government funds, saying the state of Florida needs this funding.

The Centers for Disease Control announced the virus is worse than previously thought. Officials believe the virus may appear in as many as 30 states and across the world.

There are currently 115 confirmed Zika cases of the Zika virus in Florida. CDC officials confirmed the latest, a travel-related case in Miami-Dade County, Monday afternoon. One American died from the virus two weeks ago.

The virus can be sexually transmitted. A pregnant mother can also transmit it to her fetus. Those babies are born with microcephaly, a medical condition in which the brain does not develop properly, resulting in an abnormally small head.

Experts cautioned residents to make sure there is no standing water around their property. A single mosquito can lay up to 300 eggs at a time.

While Brazil is currently experiencing the largest outbreak, it has spread to at least 20 other Latin American countries.

Zika’s symptoms include rash, fever, joint pain and red eyes. It currently lasts seven to 10 days.

There is a 24-hour Zika hotline in Florida to answer questions and concerns. That number is 855-622-6735.

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