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Gov. Rick Scott, community officials discuss Zika virus preparedness

Officials determined to 'fight the bite'

MIAMI – Gov. Rick Scott was in Miami on Monday for a Zika virus preparedness roundtable discussion with community leaders.

The meeting took place at the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County.

Last year, the message was drain and cover, but this year, it's "fight the bite."

Scott said his office has approved 34 grants and given $25 million for a vaccine, better testing and tracking to see the long-term impacts of a child born with microcephaly. 

The takeaway from the roundtable called by the governor is that the fight against the Zika virus is far ahead of last year, but must not let up.

"We don't know everything about Zika yet in terms of how the exposure to the babies might result in longer term affects, so those are all another area where we're still learning," Florida Surgeon General Dr. Celeste Philip said.

"We're looking at new technologies, although nothing is imminent," Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said. "All the new techs have drawbacks and people that are against them."

Dr. Lillian Rivera of the Miami-Dade Health Department said a major concern is that it is difficult for health officials to know exactly how many people are infected with the virus, because most people have no symptoms.

"Eighty percent of the people have no symptoms," she said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Zika virus typically causes a mild rash, fever and joint pain.


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