MIAMI (AP) — Florida’s history of fighting off mosquito-borne outbreaks puts the state in perhaps better position than most when it comes to the Zika virus.
In 2014, chikungunya, a virus spread by the same species of mosquito as Zika, infected a million people in the Caribbean. While 452 travel-related cases were documented in Florida that year, just 11 people contracted the virus in the state. Last year, no locally acquired cases of chikungunya were reported, though 73 people picked up the virus while traveling.
Florida’s warm climate, year-round mosquitoes and revolving door of international travelers make it vulnerable to the Zika virus, but local governments aggressively urge people to dump or cover anything on their property that holds water so they don’t end up raising mosquitoes that spread the virus through bites. A rainy, humid winter already had mosquito control officials on alert statewide and door-to-door inspections have been increased in neighborhoods where 12 cases of Zika were reported, all from people who have traveled abroad.