VISIT FLORIDA Update on Zika-Related Efforts

As of February 12, 2016

Fact Sheet

  • There have been no locally-acquired cases of Zika reported in the state of Florida and none of the confirmed cases involve pregnant women
  • Additionally, there are no travel advisories, issued by state, federal or international public health officials, advising people not to travel to Florida
  • 20 travel-related cases of Zika have been confirmed in eight Florida counties: Hillsborough (3 cases), Miami-Dade (7 cases), Lee (3 cases) Santa Rosa (1 case), Broward (3 case), St. Johns (1 case), Osceola (1 case), and Alachua (1 case)
  • Governor Scott has declared a public health emergency in those counties where the cases are confirmed as a precautionary measure to address mosquito control efforts and provide resources and information needed to combat the spread of Zika, including securing an adequate supply of testing kits and providing specialized education for hospital workers
  • The Florida Department of Health has activated a Zika Virus Information Hotline for Florida residents and visitors, as well as anyone planning on traveling to Florida in the near future, to answer questions on the virus and the state’s preparedness efforts
  • While Zika is new to Florida, the state’s emergency response team members are seasoned veterans at handling health-related issues that concern residents and visitors
  • There are excellent protocols in place with a proven track record of successfully controlling situations like these in the state, including the travel-related Dengue and Chikungunya cases we’ve experienced in the past few years
  • The state team is working closely with their counterparts at the local level, including destination marketing organizations, to leverage resources and share messaging
  • The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services provides technical assistance, certification and training to 61 official county-level Mosquito Control Districts who administer aggressive suppression and abatement programs year-round
  • Traditionally in Florida, mosquitoes are most active in summer and early fall and more dormant late fall through spring



Official Statements

Gov. Rick Scott on 2/12/16:

“We want to make sure Florida residents and visitors have access to an open line of communication so they can receive the latest updates on the Zika virus in our state. The Zika Virus Information Hotline will answer questions and advise callers on what steps they can take to protect their homes and families from Zika. With over 20 million residents and 100 million tourists, we have made it a priority to stay ahead of the possible spread of this virus in Florida, and we will continue to do all we can to keep our families safe.”

Florida Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong on 2/5/16:

“DOH has a robust mosquito-borne illness surveillance system and is working with the CDC, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and local county mosquito control boards to ensure that the proper precautions are being taken to protect Florida residents and visitors.”

U.S. Travel Association as of 2/10/16:

“U.S. Travel is monitoring recent developments regarding the Zika virus and its potential impact on travel to and within the United States. While the CDC reports that widespread transmission here is unlikely at this time, the association is prepared to activate our industry's readiness efforts when and if needed.”


As the state’s official source for travel planning, VISIT FLORIDA’s highest priority is the safety of our visitors.  To that end, we continue to closely monitor the developments surrounding the Zika virus and its potential impact on travel.  This includes maintaining direct contact with our counterparts at the Florida Department of Health and the U.S. Travel Association so that we are positioned to assist with sharing vital messaging to our Florida tourism industry partners and visitors as the situation evolves.

VISIT FLORIDA Talking Points

  • Our highest priority is the safety of our 20 million residents and the 1.8 million visitors in the state on any given day
  • The State of Florida has put together an incident command team of seasoned veterans who are out in front of this developing situation
  • We are well represented on that team and are actively engaged in the creation of messaging about Zika that will continue to help our visitors make the most informed travel planning decisions possible